Building and planning laws, political change?

For the last two years, regional councils have been continually told to speed up the building consent processes.

For many, a complete overhaul is needed with planning laws because they’re not able to keep up with both current demand and future growth.

Each of the political parties offers something different in their manifestos in terms of planning laws. What’s on the cards from each party?


The plan: The incumbent party National wants a redevelopment of planning laws so “simple building consents” are easier to get. Currently, the regional councils are consenting around $1.5 billion worth of construction each month under the National Government so that’s something that could increase with expedited consenting.

What it would mean: Bill English’s National’s plan would only really affect first-home buyers and those looking to build an affordable new home around the $550,000 (Kiwisaver cap) mark. For these folks, they’d get into their new builds faster, spending less on rent and attacking their mortgage loan sooner.


The plan: Jacinda Ardern’s Labour has a bold approach which doesn’t necessarily sit in line with the traditional bureaucracy-heavy leanings of the left-wing party. Ardern wants to remove planning restrictions that currently prevent property developers from building medium- and high-rise residential complexes – both in cities, and outside of the current margins of urban areas.

What it would mean: New Zealand might finally get over one of the core issues that have plagued the residential market: the inability to build up. This is something that could, surprisingly, please the traditional “right-leaning” property developer, enabling innovative architectural ideas and a nation where medium- and high-density housing becomes the norm, not an eyesore.

Green Party

The plan: The Green Party, polling historically low, is now the only party that explicitly wants a capital gains tax on property (Labour hasn’t ruled it out but isn’t gunning for it either).

What it would mean: The rate you’d be taxed on a property would be the same as your income tax rate, which is currently up to 33 per cent.

NZ First

The plan: Winston Peters wants to ban all house sales to non-New Zealand residents. He would also like to create a new housing agency that assures land for housing developments and enables first home-buyers to pay of loans for the land at just two per cent.

What it would mean: New Zealand would become a nation of race-based discrimination in order to cool the property market. It would not address property speculation – most home buyers are residents already. A loan on land value at only two per cent means somebody other than the consumer has to cop the full interest rate. Who that is isn’t clear.

The Opportunities Party

The plan: Charge a tax on ALL housing so there’s no incentive to own property as an investment, even your family home.

What it would mean: Gareth Morgan’s policy would make all assets (minus debt) liable for the same tax (or more) than if that money were in a bank deposit. TOP claims all gains by the government in taxation would be given back to the people in individual tax cuts for 80 per cent of Kiwis (the top-earning 20 per cent “can afford” to pay more tax, Morgan says, so would pay more tax overall).