Media release: National's proposals would deliver affordable housing

Media release
14 April, 2021

The New Zealand Initiative has welcomed the National Party’s announcement of its housing policy and legislation.

“Housing affordability is all about supply. This legislation will make it easier to build a house so we support this bill,” Executive Director Dr Oliver Hartwich says.

The Housing Emergency Response (Urgent Measures) Bill targets the source of the housing affordability problem – infrastructure financing and council incentives – with a $50,000 payment to councils for each new dwelling.

“The Initiative has always said red tape from councils in our largest cities is the result of bad incentives.”

“We need to reward councils and communities when they allow developments to go ahead.”

Since the introduction of the Resource Management Act in 1991, house prices after inflation have nearly quadrupled.

“That is the worst performance of any country in the OECD. New thinking is clearly needed.”

If passed, the legislation could lead to a building boom on a scale last seen in the mid-1970s, when housing construction was nearly double the current rate per capita.

“A building boom will provide a real boost to our economic recovery from COVID-19.”

The New Zealand Initiative is calling for a Parliamentary consensus that the solution to housing affordability is supply.

“Only a credible commitment by Parliament to fundamental reforms will improve housing affordability. That is why we are calling for a cross-party consensus on housing supply.”

“We ask the Government to support National’s bill or introduce its own legislation to free up land, pay for new infrastructure, and reward councils who allow development.”

The Initiative has researched housing policy since 2012 and repeatedly recommended financial incentives for councils. The relevant publications can be found on the Initiative website.


Matt Burgess, Dr Eric Crampton, and Dr Oliver Hartwich are available for comment. To arrange a time, please contact:

Simone White, Communications Officer
P: +64 4 494 9109

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