Press Release On RMLA Submission On The Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply And Other Matters) Amendment Bill
Yesterday RMLA lodged its submission on the Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply and Other Matters) Amendment Bill. RMLA welcomes the Bill’s intent to provide nationally consistent direction on the issues of housing supply and housing affordability but we are very concerned the Bill is being rushed with inadequate assessment and consultation.
The Bill is a significant piece of legislation which together with the NPSUD will have major consequences on urban development in our major cities – covering the majority of future urban growth in New Zealand. RMLA expressed specific concerns that the Bill raises significant natural justice and access to justice issues, could fail to achieve its objectives, and could well result in worse built form and urban growth outcomes than would be achieved in accordance with the NPSUD and current planning provisions – outcomes the opposite of what is intended.
RMLA is particularly concerned the legislation focusses on housing supply and affordability in a way that is likely to undermine the urban planning regimes under the forthcoming Natural and Built Environments Bill (NBEB) and the Strategic Planning Bill (SPB). Those statutes seek to achieve better urban liveability and sustainability outcomes at a scale and rate commensurate with community outcomes and infrastructure capacity. This Bill applies a “one size fits all” approach with limited consideration of infrastructure capacity and community outcomes.
RMLA has expressed concerns about democratic process, citing lack of consultation. It considers the Bill will significantly curtail public participation in urban planning processes, noting the removal of both appeal rights and the need for many resource consents, to conclude that “Both will substantially reduce the role and influence of communities, generally referenced as democratic process.” The submission questions the rationale for removal of appeal rights beyond a “need for speed”, and is concerned the Streamlined Planning Process will increase the cost and complexities of participation in urban planning processes and be a further barrier to participation.
Noting that there are other, more critical factors affecting housing supply and affordability, including lack of infrastructure capacity, capacity constraints in construction personnel/materials, and population growth/immigration settings, RMLA suggests that a stronger focus on those matters might be more useful, while continuing to build on any gains already made through the NPSUD, and ready to be achieved through the resource management reform process now well under way.