Govt announces RMA changes

John Key. Photo Getty
John Key. Photo Getty
Prime Minister John Key has announced changes to the Resource Management Act which he says will improve housing affordability.

The law changes will require local councils to provide a minimum of 10 years of urban land supply to cope with projected population growth.

It will also allow subdivisions to be non-notified unless they are clearly not the type of developments anticipated by the relevant plan and zoning.

Another change would limit the time for processing simple consent applications such as adding a deck or verandah from 20 working days to 10 working days.

Another would allow councils to waive resource consents where there was an insignificant or technical variance from planning rules proposed - such as a retaining wall being slightly over the permitted height.

Speaking at the party's annual conference in Nelson, Mr Key said the reforms would address the heart of the housing affordability problem in New Zealand, by freeing up land supply and making it easier to build, extend and renovate houses.

"We want to see more houses built for families and more jobs for builders and carpenters; not bureaucrats checking passports at the doors of open homes as Labour would have us do."

Labour proposes to prevent house sales to non-residents unless they live in New Zealand or plan to build new homes, and they would be required to sell them once they left New Zealand.

Environment Minister Amy Adams told the conference she knew of a $3500 consent for an $800 job to remove a chimney and a $7000 consent for a four metre extension to a deck.

Mr Key said political opponents would paint National as anti-environment, but he dismissed these criticisms as "nonsense".

He said balance and pragmatism ran through the Government's decision-making, marked by the ''sensible" decision by Conservation Minister Nick Smith to turn down the bus tunnel to Milford Sound and the work of managing water resources through such bodies as the Land and Water Forum.

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