Productivity Commission on land for housing

A good report by the Productivity Commission on freeing up land for housing.

It’s 331 pages long, so here’s a summary of some of the recommendations:

  • Large land price differentials between different types of zones, such as those observed in Auckland, should be a trigger for local authorities to review the adequacy of their land supplies and zoning decisions.
  • High-growth local authorities should express their land supply targets in terms of zoned and serviced land and report publicly on their performance.
  • The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, in conjunction with relevant local authorities, should inventory public land holdings in all high-growth cities to identify sites that could be used for housing.
  • The Government should introduce amendments to the RMA to clarify the role and importance of housing and urban environments.
  • In reviewing their District Plans, local authorities should move more residential land-use activities into “permitted” or “restricted discretionary” status.
  • Councils should identify areas where there is existing infrastructure capacity and ensure that planning rules do not prevent intensification from occurring in these areas.
  • Councils should pursue opportunities to make more efficient use of existing infrastructure assets including through greater use of user charges where this can reduce demands on infrastructure.
  • Government should adopt the Local Government Infrastructure Advisory Group’s recommendation to amend the Land Transport Management Act to allow pricing on existing roads where there is a business case that enables effective network optimisation.
  • The Treasury, in consultation with the Department of Internal Affairs, should investigate removing the rating exemption on land owned by the core Crown, including on land used for health and education purposes.
  • There is a place for a UDA to lead and coordinate residential development at scale in both greenfield and brownfield settings, working in partnership with private sector developers. Legislation would be required to establish and give powers (such as compulsory acquisition) to one or more UDCs in New Zealand.

The are neutral experts whose task is to come up with solutions to issues that reduce our productivity. I hope the Government takes up most of their recommendations. The compulsory acquisition power for UDCs I don’t support, but the other stuff I do

UPDATE: Labour is supportive, which is good:

The Government should adopt the Productivity Commission’s recommendation to create an urban development authority to drive large-scale renewal projects in our biggest cities, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.


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