Cambridge Edition

Luxon hints at intensific­ation changes


A National government would have another look at controvers­ial housing intensific­ation laws that have riled councils around the country, leader Christophe­r Luxon has revealed.

‘‘Absolutely, we’ll take the consultati­on and hear the challenges that we’ve been hearing in different places up and down the country in due course,’’ Luxon said Thursday in Te Awamutu when asked if he’d consider change in light of local concerns in Waikato.

New ‘‘three and three’’ rules – covering big cities and high growth areas – allow for up to three homes, three storeys high in certain places without the need for a resource consent.

Hamilton city and parts of Waipā and Waikato districts are caught up, along with other parts of the country, sparking concerns from local politician­s and councils who feel their control is being eroded.

A senior Hamilton councillor has expressed fears about parts of the city turning into a ‘‘dump’’, Waipā’s mayor says the rules risk harming the ‘‘village’’ feel of his local towns, while Waikato’s mayor shares fears that expensive infrastruc­ture upgrades would be needed to cope with intensific­ation.

On whether National support for the ‘‘three and three’’ legislatio­n could weaken in light of such concerns, Luxon said the rules were important in light of the housing shortage.

‘‘We need to intensify our cities in particular and we obviously need to keep opening up greenfield spaces as well.’’ But in a meeting Thursday Waipā’s mayor Jim Mylchreest had raised with him the concerns he had, especially around providing supporting infrastruc­ture – such as for three waters services – and whether the council could afford it.

‘‘Obviously in newer areas, where assets and infrastruc­ture [do] support intensific­ation, that’s fine.

‘‘But there are challenges he was just talking about to me about around that,’’ said Luxon.

Dealing with the housing crisis was a must though.

‘‘The reality is if you’re a young person in New Zealand at the want to know that you can work hard and on your income you can actually afford and to be able to buy a house.

‘‘And so we’ve got to find that balance of being able to intensify our cities and expand into new areas and new lands.

‘‘But we are also happy to hear what’s working and what’s not working, and make amendments as needed in government.’’

Mylchreest said Thursday that Luxon indicated he was ‘‘sympatheti­c’’ to concerns.

The mayor said he had pointed out the issues Waipā had with the rules and related affordabil­ity issues. The district was to prepare a briefing paper for Luxon on what it wanted to achieve.

‘‘He was very open to that.’’ Mylchreest hoped Luxon would be able to make some ‘‘noise’’ about the need for change and that Labour would listen and allow cities and districts more flexibilit­y over intensific­ation.

Rather than having the Government ‘‘dictate on high’’ Mylchreest said he’d prefer to take a more co-operative approach over issues, suggesting people should only ‘‘dictate if you’ve got it right’’.

He noted that some developers in Waipā had started to put in place covenants to effectivel­y reinstate conditions, such as parking provision, that the council would be barred from insisting on in places under the new rules.

 ?? TOM LEE/STUFF ?? National’s Christophe­r Luxon poses for a group selfie with Te Awamutu Primary pupils who welcomed him to the town with waiata and haka.
TOM LEE/STUFF National’s Christophe­r Luxon poses for a group selfie with Te Awamutu Primary pupils who welcomed him to the town with waiata and haka.

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