Hous­ing is­sues fea­ture in news

Whangarei Report - - OPINION - By Dr SHANE RETI Whanga¯ rei MP

Re­cently there has been a lot of hous­ing re­lated news in Whangārei. We know that prop­erty reval­u­a­tions are un­der way, that the me­dian house price in Whangārei is con­tin­u­ing to climb and the very good news that we will get a fur­ther 105 new so­cial houses over the next four years. I queried the min­is­ter as to why com­par­a­tively wealthy Tau­ranga and the Bay of Plenty are getting 275 so­cial houses and North­land, as a whole, is only getting 180.

His an­swer was “it was de­mand driven”. But we also have much de­mand in Whangārei. There­fore, I am ques­tion­ing his re­sponse and seek­ing fur­ther an­swers. Hous­ing was a chal­lenge in our hands and it con­tin­ues to be for this Govern­ment also.

There are also three big changes un­der way for the 600,000 rental prop­er­ties in NZ;

• Firstly, by July next year all rental prop­er­ties will re­quire floor and ceil­ing in­su­la­tion.

• Se­condly, reg­u­la­tions are cur­rently be­ing worked on re­gard­ing fur­ther com­pul­sory struc­tural re­quire­ments for land­lords, such as heat­ing, draught and damp­ness man­age­ment.

• Thirdly, last week the Govern­ment an­nounced a re­view of the rental process. This in­cludes re­quir­ing rent re­views yearly in­stead of six monthly, re­mov­ing rent-bid­ding, re­mov­ing no cause ter­mi­na­tions and pro­vi­sions for pets and mi­nor al­ter­ations. Many of th­ese changes are still at the dis­cus­sion stage and the Govern­ment is want­ing to hear from rental prop­erty own­ers. I would wel­come all rental prop­erty land­lords with prop­erty in, or out­side Whangārei, to con­tact me and my of­fice — 09 4389992 — so that we can keep you up to date and con­nect you with the cor­rect govern­ment de­part­ments and consultation doc­u­ments.

The cre­ation of an Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity (UDA) in Auck­land will be watched with great an­tic­i­pa­tion in Whanga¯ rei and across New Zealand. This is a body that can by­pass coun­cil pro­cesses and fast track build­ing con­sents.

Over sev­eral days last week, I door knocked the new com­mu­nity in Park­lands, Tikipunga, and talked with many peo­ple, lis­tened to their con­cerns and wel­comed them to Whangārei. Houses have been built there at an as­ton­ish­ing rate and a whole new com­mu­nity has sprung up. I be­lieve there is still sig­nif­i­cant RMA re­forms to be un­der­taken, but Park­lands is an ex­am­ple of what can be done, and we should cap­ture the learn­ings.

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