Phil Twyford on the new Housing and Urban Development Authority

The new Housing and Urban Development Authority (HUDA) is going to have broad powers including being able to ignore existing council designations, amend or write its own by-laws and grant its own resource consent, and councils will have no veto power. “It’s going to be a tooled-up agency that can cut through the red tape” – Minister Phil Twyford.

I wouldn’t be surprised if that dismays some councils.

Also:

There will be ‘no change’ for Housing NZ tenants under the new Housing and Urban Development Authority

It is a shame that HUDA needs to be given extraordinary powers like this, other than making the Resource Management act fit for purpose.

More from and interview with Twyford on Nation yesterday:

  • Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford says the new Housing and Urban Development Authority (HUDA) will act “in partnership” with local iwi, councils and the private sector. “We’re creating a really joined-up one-stop shop that can sit alongside the council and unlock these big developments and allow us to crack into it with pace and scale.”
  • Mr Twyford said while the agency will also contain Housing New Zealand subsidiary HLC, becoming the Government’s primary provider for housing, there would be no change for HNZ tenants. “There will be no significant difference for those people. I want to reassure them that their rent, their tenancy arrangements, their houses – that’s not going to change at all.”
  • The HUDA will have broad powers, including being able to ignore existing council designations, amend or write its own by-laws and grant its own resource consent, and councils will have no veto power. “It’s going to be a tooled-up agency that can cut through the red tape,” said Mr Twyford.
  • He said land use regulation and the rules that govern development projects had been solely in the hands of councils and that was “not working”. “We have to change things, and we’re putting central government in there to work alongside councils.”
  • He said he hoped the authority will mean developments could go “from concept to building within 12 months”.
  • Mr Twyford said the HUDA will have a $100 million injection to get it started but will also have access to Kiwibuild and Housing NZ Funds, because state homes and Kiwibuild funds would be part of the projects.
  • The HUDA will also have the power of forced acquisition, where private land owners can be can be forced to sell to make way for a development – but the minister says the powers are just “in the back pocket”. “I don’t think it’s likely at all that someone’s private property or their house will be acquired for one of these projects.”
  • Mr Twyford said the cost of Kiwibuild had not been underestimated, and he would not be asking for more funds in the next budget. He said the point of the $2 billion fund was to be “recycled over and over”.
  • He said victims of the meth testing debacle would soon be compensated. “Every tenant who has come forward and has their eligibility for payment under the scheme we set up, we will get their payments [to them] before Christmas.” He said Housing New Zealand was proactively working with MSD to try and track down people eligible for compensation who haven’t yet come forward.
  • He said those who had been unfairly kicked out of homes were being prioritised on the HNZ waiting list. “People should not be living in cars. And my advice is that Housing New Zealand is doing everything it can to make sure that people who were affected in that way, that that situation is put right.”

Full interview transcript at Scoop.