Published: 25 January 2017
Housing is one of the most significant issues facing New Zealanders and Local Government New Zealand agrees with ACT Party leader David Seymour that new approaches are needed to ensure better outcomes for Kiwis.
In his “State of the Nation” speech on Monday Mr Seymour highlighted the difficulty councils have in funding the vital infrastructure needed for housing development.
He called for new approaches to funding local government to help pay for essential infrastructure for housing developments like roads, water and sewerage systems, including through the sharing of a portion of GST revenue.
Local Government New Zealand President Lawrence Yule says changes to the way local government is funded are needed to address issues as important as housing infrastructure.
“We have been advocating for new funding approaches for some time and are pleased to see the issue of how councils pay for important infrastructure into the future are being increasingly raised by more political parties, including ACT,” Mr Yule says.
“Mr Seymour raised some pertinent points in his address. We are particularly interested in finding alternatives to property rates so councils and communities can have a broader range of funding mechanisms and sources available to use. We are seeing more and more cases of communities struggling to cope with new or growing pressures – funding tourism infrastructure is another example of this – and we need to think seriously about how to achieve better results without constantly tapping the ratepayer.”
Mr Seymour’s proposal to create a specific regime for urban areas to deal with housing affordability also warrants consideration, Mr Yule says.
“The resource management system is in need of change and LGNZ is advocating for a range of changes, including the introduction of special economic zones to enable tailored policy, regulatory and funding structures suited to local conditions.”