Ramping up Residential Density

The Government, together with the National Party, yesterday announced proposed changes to the RMA to ramp up residential density in our cities. The announcement marked a rare “meeting of the minds” between Labour and National.

The changes come in the form of the Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply and Other Matters) Amendment Bill (the Bill). The Bill seeks to rapidly accelerate the supply of housing where the demand for housing is high. To achieve that goal, the Bill will bring forward and strengthen the National Policy Statement on Urban Development (the NPS-UD). The Government intends to pass the Bill into law by the end of the year.

A bipartisan response to the housing crisis

Those who participated in yesterday’s press conference were Housing Minister Megan Woods, Environment Minister David Parker and Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins.

According to their comments, this bipartisan work stream kicked off in January this year when Judith Collins approached the Government about working jointly to tackle the housing crisis.

What the Bill will do

The Bill aims to firstly bring forward the deadlines for local government’s requirements under the NPS-UD. The change to the deadlines would be complemented by a proposed new Intensification Streamlined Planning Process (ISPP). The ISPP is intended to enable councils for the biggest cities[1] to implement the NPS-UD quicker.

Secondly, the Bill aims to add to the substantive directions in the NPS-UD. One of the main additions will allow landowners to build up to three homes, of three storeys high, without resource consent, on most residential sites within our biggest cities. There will be some exceptions where sites have natural hazard issues or heritage elements.

Timeframes and public participation

The Bill was introduced to the House yesterday. It will have its first reading on 26 October. A three week submission period will follow. The Environment Select Committee will then review the Bill.

The Government intends for Parliament to pass the Bill into law by 16 December.

As usual, we are happy to help you participate in this important legislative reform process. If you would like to discuss with us how we can help, don't hesitate to get in touch with one of the team.

Disclaimer: This is a brief summary for information purposes only and is not legal advice.


[1] Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington, and Greater Christchurch

Posted on Wednesday 20th October, 2021 at 04:47 pm