Photographer: Brendon O'Hagan/Bloomberg

New Zealand Urges Councils to Sell Land to Ease Housing Problem

  • Housing Minister Nick Smith discusses plan on TV One’s Q+A
  • Councils will be required to unlock more land for housing

New Zealand’s government will announce policies requiring councils to unlock more land for housing amid a property boom that’s pushed average house values in Auckland up by 70 percent since 2007.

A national policy directive will be released next month under the Resource Management Act, Housing Minister Nick Smith said Sunday on TV One’s Q+A program.

“That will put far tougher requirements on growing councils to ensure that they are freeing up long term the land that is required so that we don’t get into the sort of juggernaut that has been at the core of the unaffordable housing problems in Auckland,” Smith told the television program, according to an e-mailed transcript.

The government also plans to ensure property investors aren’t avoiding paying taxes on their investments, Smith said, adding that the tax department is able to track every property that’s bought and sold for investment purposes.

“People who are pretending they can make those investments in housing markets in Auckland without paying tax are going to get a very nasty surprise,” he said.

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