New Zealand Law Society - Special Housing Area provisions extended

Special Housing Area provisions extended

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Parliament has taken urgency to pass all stages of the Housing Legislation Amendment Bill which amends legislation relating to increasing the supply and affordability of housing.

The legislation will come into force on 15 September 2016.

It amends the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act 2013 to:

  • Extend the date by which special housing areas (SHAs) can be established by three years to 16 September 2019.
  • Extend the date of repeal of the entire Act by three years to 16 September 2021.
  • Set time limits for lodging applications for resource consents and requests for plan changes or variations of a proposed plan, and provide ministerial discretion on revoking SHA status.
  • Allow plan change requests made but not completed under the Act to continue when proposed district plans become operative.
  • Clarify the relevant planning document that local authorities use to assess consent applications and plan change requests under the Act.

The Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act 2013 came into force on 13 September 2013 as a short term measure to streamline and fast track housing development and associated infrastructure through the Resource Management Act 1991.

The Housing Act 1955 has also been amended to confirm that offer-back obligations under the Public Works Act 1981 do not apply - and have never applied - to the disposal of State housing land where the disposal is necessary to achieve the Crown's housing objectives.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) produced a regulatory impact statement on 29 August 2016. It notes that the over-arching objective of legislation is to increase the volume and pace of supply of land for housing and reduce upward pressure on the cost of homes particularly in high growth districts. 

"The aim is to introduce a Bill that incentivises and facilitates further supply of land for housing developments over the short term including affordable homes and ensures developments can be progressed at pace.," the impact statement says.

MBIE's disclosure statement is available here.

Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith says the legislation ensures that eight special housing areas involving 762 hectares of greenfield land can be progressed. Dr Smith says the extension of the 2013 Act is aimed at helping to free up land supply in other parts of New Zealand which are experiencing housing pressure.

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