GPS-HUD: More Waffle than Breakfast at Denny's

By Iain McManus

The Government has released a discussion document for its upcoming Government Policy Statement on Housing and Urban Development (“GPS-HUD”).  According to the document:

“The GPS-HUD will set the Government’s long-term vision for housing and urban development in Aotearoa New Zealand.  It will enable us to ensure our investment streams, regulatory interventions and policies are aligned across agencies and entities to deliver and enable, at pace and scale, the changes that we all want to see across Aotearoa New Zealand.”

It’s nice to know that everyone in New Zealand wants the same thing for housing and urban development (although it does rather beg the question – why is the Government consulting if it has already decided what we all want?).

Anyways (as the kids say these days), if you haven’t got the patience to read a 75 page summary of government policy, here’s my summary:

The Government’s “vision” is that:

“Everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand lives in a healthy, secure and affordable home that meets their needs, within a thriving, inclusive and sustainable community”.

The Government proposes to achieve its vision through four “ways of working”:

  1. Working collaboratively with Maori;
  2. Genuine and enduring partnerships;
  3. Sustainable and reliable funding; and
  4. Place-based approaches.

The Government’s six focus areas and key actions within each area (I have ignored the vague and waffly actions) are as follows:

Ensure that more affordable houses are being built

This is to be achieved by:

  1. Systemic reforms (e.g. RMA reform, Three Waters reform, Te Ture Whenua Maori (Maori Land Act) reform, road pricing tools and value-uplift capture tools).  The document does not explain how road pricing and value-uplift capture tools (through which government taxes land that benefits from public work) will lead to more affordable housing.
  2. Use of instruments like “fast track consenting”, “streamlined planning processes” and the Urban Development Act (which gives Kainga Ora special powers, including the ability to issue resource consents to itself, when undertaking development).
  3. Implementation of the National Policy Statement on Urban Development 2020 (you can read our blog on this NPS via this link).
  4. Review of local government (via the “Future for Local Government” review initiated in April 2021 and tasked with reporting by 30 April 2023).
  5. Direct government investment in new housing and urban development projects (e.g. through Kainga Ora and community partnerships).
  6. Direct investment in innovative building methods like off-site manufacturing (government shareholding in pre-fabrication plant?).
  7. Investment in skills and training (e.g. apprenticeships).

Support resilient, sustainable, inclusive and prosperous communities

This is to be achieved by:

  1. Through Kainga Ora, the Land for Housing Programme and other government initiatives, delivering urban development that exemplifies best practice and supports resilient, sustainable, inclusive and prosperous communities.
  2. Supporting investment in infrastructure that builds climate resilience, reduces emissions and restores water and air quality.
  3. Developing an Emissions Reduction Plan that mitigates housing and urban greenhouse gas emissions.
  4. Developing a National Adaptation Plan to support climate resilience in housing and urban development.
  5. Supporting Maori-led developments.

Provide homes that meet people’s needs

This is to be achieved by:

  1. Direct government investment to increase the supply of purpose-built rental housing and alternative pathways to home ownership.
  2. Direct government investment in new housing and upgrades to existing housing (e.g. through Kainga Ora and community partnerships).
  3. Continued regulatory reform to ensure tenants live in rental homes that are healthy, warm and dry.
  4. Increased adoption of accessible building principles.

Prevent and reduce homelessness

This is to be achieved by:

  1. Increasing new public housing supply though Kainga Ora and in partnership with community housing providers.
  2. Supporting Maori organisations to prevent homelessness through kaupapa Maori initiatives.
  3. Implementing actions in the Government’s Homelessness Action Plan.

Invest in Maori-driven housing and urban solutions

This is to be achieved by:

  1. Government investment in infrastructure to support Maori to build homes for Maori on Maori land.
  2. Increasing the supply of public and community housing places that are built in Maori communities.
  3. Implementation of the Maori and Iwi Housing Innovation (MAIHI) Partnership Programme to support Maori organisations to deliver housing projects.

Re-establish housing’s primary role as a home rather than a financial asset

This is to be achieved by:

  1. Increasing housing supply to dampen expectations of high capital gain.
  2. Removing barriers to alternative forms of tenure (e.g. shared ownership and rent to buy).
  3. Unspecified new demand-side measures to limit speculative investment in existing residential property.

Public feedback on the discussion document closes at the end of July. 

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