Feature article

Fast-tracked consenting programme prioritised by coalition Government

Unlocking land for homes is driving housing policy

6 December 2023

The coalition Government has said it wants to cut through red tape and encourage councils to give building consent for more residential homes. It will incentivise councils to build at a greater pace and in a wider range of locations.

Full details of precisely what this will look like will emerge in the coming weeks, but in the first instance, the coalition Government has pledged to repeal both the Natural and Built Environment Act (NBEA) and the Spatial Planning Act 2023 by Christmas. At the same time, the Resource Management Act 1991 will be amended to facilitate more houses being built and for new infrastructure to be consented.

In May 2023, the National Party pulled out of the bipartisan housing density agreement on the Medium Density Residential Standards (MDRS) with the Labour Government. Known to many as the ‘townhouse bill’, it allowed developers to build more medium-density homes like townhouses in existing urban areas.

National’s Going for Housing Growth policy, will be tweaked in agreement with Act for the coalition Government, so that:

  • Legislation is introduced to make MDRS optional for councils.
  • A portion of GST collected on new residential builds may also be shared with councils.
  • The idea of allowing home builders to opt out of needing building consent will be explored if they have long-term insurance for the building work.

The coalition Government has also committed to establishing a fast-track one-stop shop consenting and permitting process for regional and national projects of interest. It will bring back a Regional Infrastructure Fund which will have $1.2 billion in capital funding.

The National Party Going for Housing Growth policy includes a National Infrastructure Agency to be introduced in the first 100 days and work on this has been confirmed.

The following plans were proposed within the National Party’s Going for Housing Growth policy and are expected to be introduced in the coming months:

  • The Infrastructure Funding and Financing Act will be reformed to reduce red tape for developers to fund infrastructure. Combined with targeted rates to fund greenfield developments. It’ll remove the need for councils to fund greenfield infrastructure from their balance sheets.
  • Councils will have to declare that infrastructure for new greenfield development will be funded from rates and levies applied to the new development instead of being subsidised by other communities.
  • Councils who’ve said they want greater flexibility in where they put housing will now be expected to find development opportunities either in greenfield development or with greater density, especially along transport corridors.
  • A $1 billion Build-for-Growth fund will be started and for every house delivered above the five-year average in a council area, the council will receive $25,000.
  • To pay for the $1 billion Build-for-Growth fund, the coalition Government is expected to close KiwiBuild, now called the Buying off the Plans initiative, the Affordable Housing Fund and will end Kāinga Ora’s land acquisition programme as well as removing any remaining funding from the Housing Acceleration Fund.


Gill South
Gill South