The politicians recently announced a bill to reduce the overly restrictive planning rules that are one of the barriers to building more homes in the places where they are needed the most. The bill introduces a new planning process to support tier 1 councils to implement intensification policies quicker. These new standards will allow people to develop up to three homes of up to three storeys on most sites without the need for a resource consent.
The proposed plan is already being watered down and I believe that this is just the beginning. The way councils are funded means more development equals more cost for council, so they don’t want more intensification. You see this whenever you submit a resource consent for multi unit dwellings.
Even with this new bill, council’s will still have their minimum service court sizes and minimum living courts and turning circles and rules against shading and so on. In fact Hamilton City Council is starting to bring in minimum internal living area requirements. These rules aren’t even in the district plan, but they are being imposed anyway.
The announcement was just more politics. The politicians needed to be seen to be doing something with house prices rising more than 30% in one year.
Announcements won’t create more affordable housing, only the development of more affordable housing will do that, and I can’t see that happening anytime soon. Every consent we submit to council is met with more regulations, more delays, more cost. It’s business as usual for developers and builders, that means longer timeframes for new development and rising costs.
In fact, new building regulations have just been introduced meaning we need to increase the insulation in the roof, walls and floors again. Why, when new houses in the Waikato are already warm and dry? Don’t they care that the constant increase in building requirements keeps driving up the cost of new homes? Yes, more insulation is a good thing, but how far do you go? In the 17 years that I’ve been developing new homes the standards have just kept on increasing, from foundations to landscape plans, the cost of building new homes rises constantly. At some point they’ll be too expensive for people to buy, are we already there?
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