Housing issues feature in news
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.