Housing, environmental groups celebrate cross-partisan reform of urban planning rules

October 19, 2021 12:33 pm

A City for People, Generation Zero, and Renters United welcome the cross-partisan announcement today that the National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD) will be strengthened with a fast-tracked medium-density zone and its implementation brought forward by a year. 

Councils set the rules for how and where new homes can be built. Right now many quality townhouses and apartments are banned across the country. This is because Councils have privileged the concerns of some existing homeowners and property speculators over the voices of people who are experiencing the housing crisis. 

Many housing-hesitant councils have taken a conservative reading of the NPS-UD’s requirements and its positive effects wouldn’t have been in place until 2024. This new cross-partisan reform is to be celebrated. It is a vital step to tackling our housing crisis by ensuring people’s right to a quality home is paramount. The real character of our cities are people and thriving communities.

Across Aotearoa New Zealand we have a serious housing crisis. Decades of housing shortages means that prices and rents are out of control. People are being priced out of our major cities, spending hours each day commuting from sprawling suburbs while our emissions rise. This crisis is different for everyone. Migrants, the LGBTQI+ community, and Pasifika & Māori are discriminated against in the rental market. Disabled people have very little choice of accessible homes.

This reform is welcome but is not enough. Other levers need to be pulled too to allow everyone to live with dignity: generous rental subsidies, accessible housing, support for papakāinga developments, and investments in sustainable water, open space and transport infrastructure.

A City for People is a non-partisan group of Wellingtonians who share a progressive and sustainable vision for Wellington’s built environment. Generation Zero is a youth-led climate action organisation. Renters United is an advocacy group for renters that campaigns to make renting better for everyone.

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