Judith Collins says National and Labour must work together to solve the housing crisis

Judith Collins says National and Labour need to work together to solve the housing crisis.

She is calling on Jacinda Ardern to introduce urgent temporary law changes in a bid to speed up the building process, and says her party would support the Government if they do. 

Collins said the building of houses needed to be made "drastically easier".

"With rents and house prices spiraling out of control, Kiwis can no longer afford to wait," she said. 

Collins said urgent temporary legislation to make it easier to build a house should be introduced, prior to any permanent RMA reforms.

"The legislation would give Government powers to rezone land and avoid frustrating consenting delays. It was done by National following the Canterbury earthquakes. It’s now urgent for the rest of the country."

"The housing emergency is driving up inequality, and it is hitting young New Zealanders the hardest," Collins said. "We are already seeing a major increase in the working poor here in New Zealand, where people put in the hard yards but still can’t get ahead. These house price increases just make it worse.”

“It is too hard to build a house in New Zealand, it’s as simple as that. We need to make it drastically easier. This isn’t impossible.”

Last week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the Government would attempt "to tackle on multiple fronts" the housing crisis - which led to what she described as unsustainable price growth. 

Collins today said "the time had come for an extraordinary solution to an unfolding emergency".

"The law change would give Government the power to rezone council land, making room for 30 years’ worth of growth in housing supply, both through intensification and greenfield development."

"New Zealanders have had enough," Collins said.

"It’s time for the two major political parties to work together to fix this problem."

Ardern recently revealed the timeline the Government would work to in addressing housing issues - with decisions around Resource Management Act reform that aims to address planning constraints, intending to be released next month with draft law proposals set to be done in May. 

It came after National and the Green Party called for action after the latest state housing wait list was released - with 22,409 applications as of November last year.

Also released were Trade Me figures which showed the average asking price for properties across every region had reached new records last month. New Zealand's national average asking price reached a record-breaking $767,050. 

The promise came at Collins’ State of the Nation speech in Auckland – where she outlined her party’s priorities for the year and spoke about the nickname ‘Crusher Collins’.

“As a politician, the public can sometimes see a caricature of you. Being labelled ‘Crusher’ encourages that one-dimensional view,” she said.

“I did enjoy driving through changes to take boy-racer cars off the road because I like getting things done, not just talking. But that nickname misses the why, it wasn’t just about the boy racers, it was about making Kiwi communities safe.”

Collins’ priorities included the Covid-19 response and speeding up the vaccine roll out and the economic recovery.

Focusing on public safety would also be included – with Collins’ taking a swipe at Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis over the Waikeria prison incident.

Sixteen men in Waikeria Prison had a six-day standoff over conditions and were escorted out by MP for Waiariki and co-leader of the Māori Party Raiwiri Waititi after destroying the ‘top jail’ facility.

"I look at Kelvin Davis and, frankly, I’m appalled at his handling of the riots at Waikeria," Collins said.

After the protest ended, Davis instructed Corrections to undertake a review into the situation, saying he was regularly briefed and wanted to leave the management of the "riot" to staff.