Urban Development Authorities

Nick Smith announced:

Public consultation has opened on proposed legislation to fast track the redevelopment and regeneration of urban areas to better meet housing and commercial needs, Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith says.

“New Zealand needs Urban Development Authority (UDA) legislation to enable faster and better quality regeneration in our major cities. These new authorities need the power to assemble parcels of land, develop site specific plans, reconfigure infrastructure and to construct a mix of public and private buildings to create vibrant hubs for modern urban living,” Dr Smith says.

“These reforms are part of the solution to Auckland’s growth pressures over housing and infrastructure. UDAs would enable major redevelopment projects like those proposed or under way in areas such as Hobsonville, Tamaki, Three Kings and Northcote to occur three to five years faster.

“The international experience in cities like London, Melbourne, Sydney, Toronto and Singapore is that UDAs can create vibrant, new suburbs, with greater gains for housing, jobs and amenities than through usual incremental, piecemeal redevelopment. …

This could be one of the more powerful things the Government does to increase the housing supply. Councils are not incentivised to increase housing, but UDAs with a specific mandate to increase the supply of housing could work far better and more effectively than the status quo.

Some key aspects:

The Government proposes that urban development authorities will be able to bring together larger land parcels through a combination of acquiring government or council-owned land, buying land from private owners, and as a last resort asking the Minister for Land Information to use existing powers under the Public Works Act 1981 to compulsorily acquire land in the proposed project area.


It is proposed that urban development authorities would be able to coordinate the planning and development of infrastructure, including connecting with networks outside the development project area. These authorities would also need to pay for infrastructure related to the project. This means allowing authorities the flexibility to raise funds for this infrastructure, outside of how local government normally achieves this, with the ability to levy infrastructure charges on relevant landowners.

As I said, these could make a big difference.

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