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National Council has identified housing as the key policy priority for the 2020/21 period, reflecting the housing price pressures being experienced by metro, provincial and rural communities. The policy and market drivers of housing affordability are numerous and varied, and fixes are variously in development as of 2020. Central government is primarily focused on metropolitan areas, where the housing need is most acute, primarily through the development of independent funding and financing tools, urban development legislation, and reform of building and construction policy. Acknowledging that this work is still progressing through the legislative process, National Council has directed LGNZ to focus on the housing policy areas where it can maximise its influence and make the greatest change on the ground in the short to medium term.

Public (social) housing

Since the 1930s public housing has been delivered in partnership in New Zealand, with central government focussing on families and councils focussing on older citizens in need of accommodation support. As a result of central government halting funding to councils in 1991, the stock of council-owned public housing has continued to decline, meaningfully reducing the supply of housing while adding to the pressure experienced by vulnerable people.

This project seeks to:

  • Reinstate central government funding for council provided public housing, principally in the form of income related rent subsidies by establishing an evidence base, quantifying the scope of public housing provided by councils and how this is likely to increase in response to the reinstatement of rental subsidies. In addition, it seeks to develop a best-practice model for social housing, ensuring prudent management of the assets and tenancies now and in the future.

Māori housing and papakāinga

Iwi/Māori are increasingly expressing an interest in using their land holdings to provide public and affordable housing for their communities and more broadly. As owners of land with a multi-generational ownership horizon they are strategically well-placed to do so, but face a number of structural challenges that prevent them from taking advantage of this opportunity.

This project seeks to:

  • Identify and examine the structural barriers that prevent Iwi/Māori from developing housing on their land, and explore best-practice measures that councils can implement to help Iwi/Māori overcome these structural obstacles. Where these obstacles fall outside of council remit, LGNZ will advocate for policy change at a national level.

Urban development authority

As part of a range of measures aimed at improving the supply of housing in New Zealand, central government is looking to establish an urban development authority Kāinga Ora - Homes and Communities. This centralised entity will be establishing partnerships at a local level to develop housing at scale, and will be given significant powers that override the traditional planning and development process.

This project seeks to:

  • Examine these cut through powers, the implications they have for territorial authorities, and to identify best practice measures while this legislation is in the development phase. This recognises LGNZ’s stated policy position, which is supportive of the overall aim of an urban development authority, provided it does not unnecessarily dilute or override local input into the development and operations of their community. In addition, this project seeks to advocate for sensible reform of the planning, funding and delivery systems, which are the root cause of New Zealand’s housing affordability crisis.


Housing 2030 project

Related Subjects

Housing Urban development