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Latest housing initiative to be revealed

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 1/06/2016

Finance Minister Bill English, in a pre-budget speech, set out the difficulties around building homes in Auckland. © Getty Images Finance Minister Bill English, in a pre-budget speech, set out the difficulties around building homes in Auckland. The government is about to announce another initiative to tackle the housing shortage.

It will on Thursday release a National Policy Statement on Urban Development, which Prime Minister John Key has said won't give councils options about freeing up land.

National policy statements lay out the government's objectives and are guidelines that aren't set in law.

But Mr Key hasn't left any doubt about how strong this one is going to be.

"Let me make this crystal clear, because this is what the national policy statement will do," he said after last week's budget.

"Over the next few years it will ensure that councils must make available sufficient land to accommodate growth in the community.

"It's no longer a matter of choice or debate for those councils - land will be zoned residential and developed in quantities sufficient to meet demand. Period."

That followed weeks of tough talking by ministers about Auckland Council's attitude to zoning new residential sites and its rules around buildings.

Finance Minister Bill English, in a pre-budget speech, set out the difficulties around building homes in Auckland.

He said consenting requirements could add up to $110,000 to the cost of building an apartment, and the price of land inside the city's urban boundary was 10 times higher than just outside it.

"The government has very clear expectations of Auckland Council," he said.

Labour has proposed scrapping Auckland's urban growth boundary, a move welcomed by the government.

Mr English has said it means there's a clear parliamentary majority for overriding the council, if it comes to that.

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