Political reaction: Can the Nats’ policy fix the housing shortage?

By 1news.co.nz

The Greens say National’s newly-announced policy to fix the housing shortage will lead to “more costly urban sprawl”, whilst ACT has claimed victory for forcing a “full 180” from the party’s likely coalition partner.

Modern house in Auckland (file image). (Source: istock.com)

Housing Minister Megan Woods also wrote to National earlier this week after Christopher Luxon signalled his intention to change his party’s position on zoning and density.

The political reaction comes after the Opposition’s housing spokesperson Chris Bishop announced National’s new supply policy on Q+A this morning.

ACT leader David Seymour said making medium-density rules optional showed that the minor party was ultimately “National’s conscience” and took credit for the pivot.

“Today the Nats have done a full 180 and now oppose the three-three-storey house law, and want to share a billion dollars a year with councils if they allow development.

“This is the reason the next Government needs ACT. We got the policy right, stood our ground and eventually others came around,” he said on Facebook.

ACT was the only party in Parliament to oppose the so-called “townhouse bill” in 2021, which allowed additional subdivision rights and permission to build medium-density housing in existing suburbs.

“National got caught up in Labour’s style of political theatre over substance, and sanity returned only after encouragement from ACT,” deputy leader Brooke Van Velden said.

“This is why New Zealand needs ACT as National’s conscience in the next Government. Without ACT, there would be no difference between left and right.”

Van Velden said planning rules and zoning were not the issue, and that there instead needed to be additional focus on how new infrastructure was funded.

National would almost certainly need ACT’s support to try and form a Government following October’s general election.

Meanwhile, the Greens’ housing spokesperson Julie-Anne Genter said National “walked away from the bipartisan solution to” a solution for onerous planning rules.

“National is terribly confused in this policy. On the one hand they acknowledge the benefits of more homes along rapid transit corridors, and want to protect farmland.

“On the other hand, they’re also pushing ad hoc greenfields development — which results in loss of productive farmland and housing that is disconnected from community and infrastructure. This causes high transport costs for families and worse traffic.”

She said new housing should be built within existing urban areas “with existing infrastructure and along existing transport routes”.

Earlier this week, Housing Minister Megan Woods wrote a letter to Christopher Luxon and Chris Bishop about the party’s then-upcoming change of heart over housing density.

“The intention of the bipartisan approach was to provide people with certainty. Your change in position removes that certainty, so I am keen to explore if that can be regained, in the interests of councils, developers, property owners and aspiring homeowners,” she wrote.

“I am writing to extend an offer to work together again and continue to ensure certainty and stability in housing policy.

“I understand the National Party has signalled that it will be announcing proposed changes to the medium density rules. That is despite your party’s enthusiastic support for the bill when it passed through the House in 2021.

“Many of the measures in the legislation are in there because your former housing spokesperson Nicola Willis successfully advocated for them. This legislation is not Labour’s alone, it is both Labour’s and National’s.”

Sometimes when a business is growing, it needs a little help.

Right now Kaniva News provides a free, politically independent, bilingual news service for readers around the world that is absolutely unique. We are the largest New Zealand-based Tongan news service, and our stories reach Tongans  wherever they are round the world. But as we grow, there are increased demands on Kaniva News for translation into Tongan on our social media accounts and for the costs associated with expansion. We believe it is important for Tongans to have their own voice and for Tongans to preserve their language, customs and heritage. That is something to which we are strongly committed. That’s why we are asking you to consider sponsoring our work and helping to preserve a uniquely Tongan point of view for our readers and listeners.

Latest news

Related news