Transform our housing market to unlock productivity growth and make houses more affordable
This economic shift means:
- Overcoming the shortage of housing and focusing capital investment towards more productive areas of our economy
- Current and future generations can access affordable housing in the places they desire close to the best jobs for them
- A productive building and construction sector producing safe, healthy and durable homes and buildings.
Urban Growth Agenda
The Urban Growth Agenda (UGA) is a package of work designed to get our urban markets working better so that they can better respond to growth, bring down the high cost of urban land to improve housing affordability, and support thriving communities.
The UGA aims to:
Improve housing affordability
Improve housing choice
Improve access to the things people need including work and education
Enable quality-built environments.
The infrastructure funding and financing pillar of the Urban Growth Agenda (UGA) will support responsive infrastructure provision and appropriate cost allocation, including the use of project financing and access to financial capital.
It aims to reform infrastructure funding and financing through providing a broader range of tools and mechanisms to enable net beneficial bulk and distribution infrastructure to be funded.
The Government Build Programme supports a number of housing and urban initiatives to provide housing support to all New Zealanders, including homeless, renters, or homes through KiwiBuild for families locked out of home ownership. Changes to the Government Build Programme that take effect from 1 October include:
- $400 million that is being made available to support progressive home ownership schemes
- Changes to the First Home products (formerly the KiwiSaver HomeStart grant and Welcome Home Loan):
- reducing the deposit requirement for the First Home Grant and First Home Loan from 10 per cent to 5 per cent
- removing the cap on multiple buyers which capped the First Home Grant at twice the individual cap for each property bought by three or more buyers.
- Changes to KiwiBuild that will provide Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities with the flexibility needed to coordinate and deliver KiwiBuild homes by:
- increasing the KiwiBuild price cap for the Wellington region for homes with three or more bedrooms from $500,000 to $550,000
- providing flexibility for up to 10 per cent of KiwiBuild homes to be over the respective price caps if they are four-bedrooms or larger
- removing the asset limit for ‘second chancers’ looking to purchase KiwiBuild homes
- reducing the requirement to live in a home from three years to one year for buyers of studio or one-bedroom KiwiBuild homes.
Building system legislative reform
The Building System Legislative Reform Programme seeks to lift the efficiency and quality of building work and provide fair outcomes if things go wrong.
The reforms will give homeowners greater confidence that the people building their homes know what they are doing and are making well-informed decisions. They will make it easier to use new and innovative building products and methods, including prefab and offsite manufacturing, and support the Government’s priorities to deliver more affordable houses.
The Government is expected to make its first policy decisions later this year, with legislative changes likely to be rolled out over the next two to five years.
Further policy decisions on changes to three of the occupational regulation regimes in the building sector are expected in 2020.
Residential Tenancies Act reforms
The Residential Tenancies Act reform programme aims to modernise the Act to reflect that for many New Zealand households, renting is a lifelong housing prospect and increased rights would significantly improve their quality of life and wellbeing outcomes. The reform programme proposes many changes such as increased security of tenure for tenants, greater ability to have pets and make moderate modifications to their rental property.
Healthy Homes Act
Ensuring everyone has a warm dry rental home is a priority to improving the wellbeing of New Zealanders and their families. Nearly 600,000 households rent in New Zealand and research tells us that New Zealand’s rental housing is of poorer quality than owner-occupied homes.
In February 2019 the Government announced the healthy homes standards, which became law on 1 July 2019.
The final standards provide further detail on information released in February particularly requirements for tenancy agreements and record keeping.
Resource Management Act reform
The Government is working to improve our resource management system.
We are focusing on reform of the Resource Management Act (RMA) to:
Support a more productive, sustainable and inclusive economy
Be easier for New Zealanders to understand and engage with.
Stage 1 of the reforms involves legislative change to address issues with resource consenting, enforcement and Environment Court provisions within the RMA.
Stage 2 of the reform is a comprehensive review of the RMA to examine the broader and deeper changes needed to support the transition to a more productive, sustainable and inclusive economy. The aim is to improve environmental outcomes and enable better and timely urban development within environmental limits.
Warmer Kiwi Homes Investment
The Government is providing grants to support low-income owner-occupiers to insulate their homes and/or install heating appliances.
Warmer Kiwi Homes grants cover:
67% of the cost of ceiling and underfloor insulation - in some areas, generous funding from community organisations means the cost to the homeowner is even lower for insulation
67% of the cost of a heat pump or an efficient wood burner or pellet burner for the main living area (grants for heaters are capped at $2,500).
Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities (previously known as the Housing and Urban Development Authority) is intended to be the Government’s key operational/delivery branch of its build programme.
Kāinga Ora will be responsible for delivering KiwiBuild housing, public housing, large scale projects and potentially other affordable housing options.
Construction Sector Accord
A thriving construction sector is vital to New Zealand’s social and economic wellbeing. We need more aﬀordable houses, safer and greener buildings, and new and upgraded infrastructure.
The Construction Sector Accord is a new commitment from government and industry to work together to support a productive, sustainable and inclusive economy.
The purpose of the Accord is to strengthen the partnership between government and industry and be a catalyst to transform the construction sector for the benefit of all New Zealand.
The Accord’s goals for the construction sector are to increase productivity, raise capability, improve resilience and restore confidence, pride and reputation.
Government and industry leaders have agreed to take a two-phased approach to the Accord process. The launch of the Accord document completed the first phase, where government and industry agreed the goals and identified some key initiatives in support of those goals. In the next phase, the sector is collaborating across nine priority work areas to develop a more detailed construction sector transformation plan to meet the challenges and achieve the outcomes outlined in the Accord.
Improving tax settings for land use
As part of the tax policy work programme The Government will review the current rules for land, particularly in relation to investment property and speculators, land banking, and vacant land. The objective of the review is to recommend ways to improve the efficient use of land, and ensure that the current tax settings are fair, balanced, and encourages and supports productive investment.