Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities Bill introduced to the House

The Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities Bill was introduced to the House today.  It creates the long-expected Housing and Urban Development Authority with a new name – Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities.  The Bill is expected to receive its first reading on 13 June 2019.  The Bill doesn’t do much more than create the entity, and does not yet foreshadow the powers that the authority will hold to kick-start urban development in New Zealand.

The Bill establishes Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities as a Crown Entity.  Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities will subsume existing central government capabilities, including HLC, Housing New Zealand, and some of the functions and assets of KiwiBuild, noting that the Land for Housing Programme will not be immediately transferred to Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities.

The Bill also provides that the Minister must introduce a Government policy statement on housing and urban development to promote housing and urban development system that contributes to the current or future well-being of New Zealanders.  Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Hon. Phil Twyford, stated in a press release today that a second Bill will be introduced later this year and will give Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities its development-enabling powers.

Earlier this year, MinterEllisonRuddWatts held a seminar Moving Forward with Urban Development.  We discussed the broad goals of the proposed housing and urban development authority to deliver “healthy, secure and affordable homes within diverse and thriving economies”.  Cabinet papers proposed that the authority would have broad powers to override RMA plans and policy statements, to acquire land, freedom to accrue debt and partner with private entities and accrue revenue – to the ends of undertaking housing, commercial and infrastructure projects in urban areas.

We await to see whether the second Bill will meet these expectations, or whether these powers have been watered down through the drafting process.

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