Set against the backdrop of New Zealand's urban area pressures – population growth, an aging population, a housing shortage and changing housing preferences – the long awaited urban development authority bill was introduced to the House on 29 May. The Bill establishes a Crown entity, Kāinga Ora–Homes and Communities, to address these pressures. The Bill had its first reading on 30 May 2019 and is intended to come into force on 1 October 2019.
There has been significant discussion in the lead up to the urban development authority bill around the potential extent and substance of the proposed authority's powers. This Bill signals the intent of the authority to lead and co-ordinate urban development projects (both housing and other urban development and renewal) but does not yet provide detail of the powers the authority may be able to wield in this space. A second Bill to be introduced later this year is intended to give Kāinga Ora–Homes and Communities its enabling development powers.
The Bill does create a major shake-up of New Zealand's public housing agencies, with the new authority poised to take over Housing New Zealand's role as a public housing landlord. Housing New Zealand Corporation (and its development subsidiary HLC (2017) Limited) are to be disestablished and subsumed into the new authority. The Housing Corporation Act 1974 will be repealed, whilst the Housing Restructuring and Tenancy Matters Act 1992 will undergo changes (primarily the transfer of the provisions relating to financial assistance into the Bill) and will be renamed the Public Housing Management Act 1992. Kāinga Ora–Homes and Communities will also assume some of KiwiBuild's functions and assets. The Minister envisages Kāinga Ora–Homes and Communities as a "one stop shop", for a co-ordinated, streamlined and supportive public housing scheme.
The Bill also requires a Government Policy Statement (GPS) on housing and urban development to be issued by 1 October 2020. In line with the recent changes to the Local Government Act, the tenets of the GPS are required to promote a housing and urban development system that contributes to the current or future well-being of New Zealanders. Kāinga Ora–Homes and Communities must give effect to the GPS when performing its functions.
Please contact one of our experts if you would like to discuss the contents of the Bill.