Resource Legislation Amendment Bill – Second Reading – Part 14

Resource Legislation Amendment Bill – Second Reading – Part 14

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I’m for thee for the passing of the spell for the spill to be fully enacted mr. speaker and I had no hesitation but to commend it to the house thinking right Mr Speaker I call Phil Twyford Thank You mr. speaker Nick Smith has tried to sell this bill as a way to fix the housing crisis but the claim just doesn’t stack up and it’s so typical of much of what the minister brings to the house and that it’s overcooked and the bill doesn’t deliver on any of the promises that the minister made when he so fancifully organized a press conference in front of a sort of three meter high pile of what we’re allegedly arame planning documents and so well Nick Smith has continually tinkered with the RMA over the last eight years and and sir absolutely this bill that we’re debating today is more tinkering although I would characterize it as harmful tinkering because it has many negative consequences he hasn’t actually in that eight years and government and after 10 years of blaming the RMA and blaming Council’s for expensive housing he’s done nothing substantive to tackle the real causes of expensive housing that lie within the planning system and the land use system he’s done nothing about those things and i’m gonna i’m going to talk about those in detail because let’s consider the claim that next must continually makes that the RMA is to blame for expensive housing so we only have to look at the numbers between 2000 and for the last big peak in terms of consenting rates and build rates since 2004 into 2016 the number of consents fell by eighteen percent one eight percent and eighteen percent reduction in the number of consents between 2004 2016 the same our RMA was in place but the value of consents over that period almost doubled so the cost of building increased by ninety-four percent the average cost per square meter increased by ninety six percent now it’s the same RMA in 2004 as in 2016 but during that time the number of consents between the 2004 peak and the current level of building that the minister constantly likes to brag about in this house actually fell by eighteen percent even though build costs build costs doubled and in that time sir the RMA has stayed the same so it’s obvious that but Nick Smith’s love of blaming the RMA and blaming councils for being the overwhelming problem behind that the housing crisis is just pure spin what does this bill due to fix the housing crisis so what does it actually do let’s let’s have a look there are three main things that the bill does that Nick Smith claims will reduce the cost of housing the first is that it gives draconian ministerial regular regulatory powers to override council plans and control consents and limit rights of people of communities and and their elected representatives to have a say in the planning process secondly it gives the minister the power to set standardized plan formats and definitions which we don’t have a problem with but it goes much further and that’s the problem it gives next Smith the power to dictate the content and the substance of the plans that are developed by local councils it is draconian it is Muldoon us sir and we we oppose it for those reasons it also gives the minister rulemaking powers that are far far too broad and David Parker spoke eloquently about that earlier today next must impulse his whole instinct and trying to in trying to deal with this issue is to take powers away from councils and local communities and give them to himself it is all about the centralization of regulatory power in the executive arm of government and in particular in the hands of that minister but mr. speaker this is the thing about this bill it undermines and adds complexity to the RMA it takes power away from citizens and their communities and their elected representatives to have a say in in the in the planning and land use decisions in their local communities but to dress this up as some kind of solution to the housing crisis and the failure of our biggest city to properly manage its growth is audacious in its spin even for Nick Smith the really crazy thing about the incessant tinkering by this minister with the RMA and after a decade of Nick Smith and Bill English blaming councils and blaming the RMA for the problems of expensive housing and the failure to properly manage urban growth is that is that all the next month’s tinkering up to now and this bill do nothing to tackle the actual root causes of expensive urban land and expensive housing that lie within the planning system the core problem is that we have a highly restrictive planning system that stops cities making room for growth it stops them growing up and it stops them growing out and when you do that mr. speaker only one thing happens the prices go up now there’s two parts to the problem three parts actually one is excessive restrictions on height and density that stops cities from growing up the second is an urban growth boundary that even though even a porous urban growth boundary that sometimes change and expand like the one in the Auckland unitary plan still rations the supply of new land for development it drip feed new land into a speculative land market that ensures that the urban land prices are always very high that is the core problem that we have in the urban land markets that are so much of a problem particularly in Auckland that is the factor of the urban growth boundary being so restrictive and the third issue is that the system that we have in this country for financing new infrastructure for development is broken central government doesn’t want to fund that council can’t fund it because they’re up against their debt ceilings and developers struggle to be the middleman for the finance that’s needed to lay the infrastructure down for new developments the system is broken now those three issues desperately need reform but this minister doesn’t has done nothing about it and this bill contributes nothing to fixing those three problems all it does is tinker with the planning process and put more power in the hands of the minister and takes it away from local councils and local communities sue in eight years what does the government done about this they they like to claim responsibility for the Auckland unitary plan but that’s not their work that’s Auckland Council’s work and it at best at best that is a small incremental improvement and the problems that I’ve been outlining the minister published a national policy statement that is a wasted opportunity to fix these problems it’s simply put in place a bureaucratic mechanism that tells councils to introduce to drip feed incrementally bits of new land into a highly speculative land market it does nothing to solve the core problem and in terms of the infrastructure log jam the best that the National Party could come up with is a 1 billion dollar line of credit cheap credit for councils that are already up against their debt ceiling they are already too indebted it’s like offering a bottle of water to a drowning man that is next myth response to the proctor the infrastructure log jam so this suit has nothing to fix those problems and by contrast labor has put on the table bold and creative solutions to break the log jam for infrastructure financing we’ve proposed bond financing paid back by targeted rate that is supported by the product of any Commission it draws on international models of best practice that would cut councils out of the picture and give developers access to the cheapest possible credit through international bond financed that would be paid back by the landowners in that development over the lifetime of the asset to our policy is to replace the urban growth boundary completely with more intensive spatial planning that will allow cities to grow that will allow the market and land and the construction industry to be responsive to demand to build houses when people want them because the planning regime that this minister defends doesn’t allow that to happen and that is at the core of the problem we’ve got this bill is draconian it does nothing to solve the core problems that we face it’s just more tinkering by this Minister met duty

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