New Zealand Labour Party

Not another Nick Smith wild goose chase

Only the election on September 23 can save the country and the RMA from Nick Smith, say Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford and Environment spokesperson David Parker.

Phil Twyford says, “National’s announcement of a new urban planning law is an admission that after a decade of blaming the RMA for expensive housing they have failed to fix the problem.

“Nick Smith’s constant tinkering with the RMA has only made it more complicated and cumbersome. National has been blaming the RMA and Councils for expensive housing but they failed to do the two things that would actually make housing more affordable.

“They could have used a National Policy Statement under the RMA to require Councils to free up the planning rules, get rid of the urban growth boundary, and use a smarter approach that allows our cities to make room for growth. They didn’t but Labour will.

“They could have turned on the tap for infrastructure financing by adopting Labour’s policy of using bond finance serviced by a targeted rate, instead of wasting years fiddling around trying to give lend money to Councils who cannot take on more debt. They didn’t but Labour will.

David Parker says, “National has been obsessed with trying to weaken the RMA’s environmental principles. In nine years they failed to take the country with them or get a majority in Parliament for their changes.

“Twice they voted against Labour’s proposals to use a National Policy Statement to abolish the urban growth boundary.

“After nine years of taking the country on a wild goose chase now Nick Smith is promising to write a new planning law. Logically, fixing the planning rules can be done either by using the RMA, with amendment, or starting again as Nick Smith now proposes. Starting again would take longer. Given the mess he has made of successive RMA changes that is a terrible prospect.

“Labour will immediately use a National Policy Statement under the RMA to free up the planning rules to allow our cities to grow, turn on the tap of infrastructure financing, and work more closely with Councils on long term regional growth strategies,” says David Parker.