Environment Minister, Nick Smith, will tomorrow outline the approach and timing for RMA reforms expected to be introduced to the house in the first half of this year. This reform is expected to increase the weight that decision makers are allowed to place on economic factors (among other things).
Dr Smith, who is also the minister of Building and Construction, noted that the reforms will have provisions seeking to ease the cost of home construction although we will have to wait to see what specific provisions are to be included. These comments come on the back of a review of housing affordability which showed that average house prices in New Zealand were less affordable than Australia, the UK and the US (when compared to the medium income).
The Special Housing Area legislation, a temporary measure to improve the availability of land, is due to expire in 2016 and this also increased the urgency to have some form of replacement legislation.
Click here to read the report in the NZ Herald.