Government Plans to Increase Housing by Changing Planning Rules

July 2024

Read Time: 2 Minutes

Housing Minister Chris Bishop has announced six significant changes intended to stimulate housing growth in New Zealand. 

Among the changes announced on July 4 are the removal of minimum floor area and balcony requirements for apartments, allowing New Zealand cities to expand outward at their fringes. The government says these changes aim to free up land for development, eliminate unnecessary planning obstacles, and streamline the process of constructing new homes to ensure ample development opportunities in key urban areas. 

What are the Proposed Changes? 

The outlined changes include: 

  1. Implementation of Housing Growth Targets for Tier 1 and 2 councils.
  2. New regulations permitting cities to expand outward at the urban fringe.
  3. Enhancement of intensification provisions within the National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD). 
  4. A requirement for councils to facilitate mixed-use developments in urban centres. 
  5. The elimination of minimum floor area and balcony requirements. 
  6. Introduction of optional provisions for councils regarding the Minimum Development Requirements Standard (MDRS). 

These reforms are aimed at fostering a more flexible and responsive framework to address housing challenges across the country. 

When will the Changes Come into Effect? 

The new requirements are anticipated to be implemented by mid-2025, following consultation on detailed design and adjustments to legislation and national direction instruments. For up-to-date timings see the Going for Growth programme page. Crockers will also keep you updated on these changes. 

More Changes to Come 

Announcing the changes in a speech to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand, Bishop said solving New Zealand’s housing crisis is one of the government’s top priorities: “It will mean a more productive, wealthier and better New Zealand.” 

Bishop acknowledged the changes were just the start, saying: "There’s a lot to do on our infrastructure funding and financing system as well as incentives for growth and I’ll have more to say in the coming months… today’s announcements are a step on the journey.” 

Read a detailed breakdown of the government proposals and Bishop’s full speech here.

Need Expert Advice? 

Staying informed about the law and its implications for landlords and property investors can be challenging. Reach out to our Property Management team on or call for a chat on 09 623 5952.


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