17 May 2013

Councils urged to co-operate with Govt over housing

11:15 am on 17 May 2013

Government and support new plans to free up land for housing.

Local Government New Zealand says councils need to overcome disagreements with the Government and support new plans to free up land for housing.

In Thursday's Budget, Finance Minister Bill English announced plans to force local authorities to speed up the approval of new housing developments and grant the Government the power to issue consents itself.

Mr English says this will make house prices more affordable.

LGNZ president Lawrence Yule told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme the Government will need to work with councils where housing is the most dire, such as Auckland and Christchurch.

Mr Yule says the councils there are happy to co-operate with Government housing plans, and the Government would only override councils as a last resort.

"The councils that are involved in those areas that we are aware of are happy to work with the Government in this process and it would absolutely be a last resort ... that the Government would issue its own consents to over-ride councils."

Mr Yule says agreement on housing between the Government and councils is badly needed to begin projects in Auckland and Christchurch.