Urban Development Authorities on the way

Tuesday 14 February 2017

Faster urban development is needed to solve housing market pressures so the government will be establishing specific authorities to enable it.

By Miriam Bell

Building Minister Nick Smith announced today that public consultation on legislation to fast track the redevelopment of urban areas is now underway.

The move comes in a bid to better meet current housing and commercial growth pressures.

New Zealand needs Urban Development Authority (UDA) legislation to enable faster and better quality regeneration in our major cities, Smith said.

“These new authorities need the power to assemble parcels of land, develop site specific plans, reconfigure infrastructure and to construct a mix of public and private buildings to create vibrant hubs for modern urban living.”

The UDAs, which will support the National Policy Statement on Urban Development, are part of the Government’s solution to Auckland’s growth pressures over housing and infrastructure.

Smith said the UDAs would enable major redevelopment projects like those proposed or under way in areas such as Hobsonville, Tamaki, Three Kings and Northcote to occur three to five years faster.

“The international experience in cities like London, Melbourne, Sydney, Toronto and Singapore is that UDAs can create vibrant, new suburbs, with greater gains for housing, jobs and amenities than through usual incremental, piecemeal redevelopment.”

The key to the success of UDAs is in how they interact with councils and businesses, he said.

“We are proposing a model of UDAs which requires the support of both central and local government, and one that maximises the role of the private sector in development.”

UDAs were first suggested by the Productivity Commission in 2015.

They are now set to become part of the Government’s arsenal of reforms that are intended to grow housing supply, particularly in Auckland.

Smith said the growth of New Zealand cities has historically been dominated by new greenfield developments on the perimeter of our cities.

“This reform is about providing new tools to enable redevelopment of existing areas in cities like Auckland and Wellington in a way that provides more housing, better infrastructure and a stronger community.”

The Government’s discussion document and more information can be found here

Consultation on the proposed UDA legislation closes on 19 May.

Read more:

Speeding up housing development 

Councils must open up land to match growth 

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