Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Kerre Woodham: How necessary are resource consents?

Let's start with the announcement yesterday from Chris Bishop allowing people to build small granny flats without requiring consent. It's followed through, the coalition government, on its promise to cut red tape around the resource consent process. The announcement was made yesterday, and they said it will be easier for people to put a granny flat in their backyard without having to go through the hoohah of a costly consent process.

Housing Minister Chris Bishop said there are already some councils in the country that allow for that but there's a lack of consistency, so some councils do, some don't. Thus, the proposal for a national environmental standard which would apply nationwide, and which could come into force more quickly.

Winston Peters said yesterday that unlocking the space in the backyards of families will open the door to a new way of living. Oldies, you might want to bring them closer to you if they're no longer able to live in their own home, but not ready for a rest home, a granny flat out the back would be perfect. University aged kids who want a little bit of independence but don't want to move away from home. You know the drill.

However, New Zealand Certified Builders CEO Malcolm Fleming, who spoke to Early Edition this morning, sounded a note of caution. He says removing consents does take away safeguards.

“What it also boils down to is whether a homeowner wishes to save the cost of a building consent, which MBIE is indicating their documents sits between $2000 and $5000 range on a $ 350K build, while also removing the ongoing safeguard of having the council share responsibility when build failures may arise in the future, and some homeowners may see as a viable trade off, others may not.”

Yes, Malcolm, sure, I would love to know when any council ever around the country has said, oh my goodness, my bad. We shouldn't have given that consent here. Let us fix it at no cost to you. We'll do it immediately. The safeguards he's talking about, what exactly are they? When you’ve applied for resource consent, do they say no no no, don't do that, you're going to be in a world of trouble. Or do they give you the consent and then when things go pear shaped, they say sorry, we shouldn't have given it to you, we'll repair it. I can't really see how that has safeguarded many builders in the past. I'd love to know if that is if that is the case.

I've never tried to build anything, for very good reason. Anytime I've done renovations on the house we went through our project manager and builders, and it worked a treat, there were no problems whatsoever. So I can see it working for our family later down the track though as the little ones grow into teenagers. I can imagine them colonising my downstairs and Nana being booted out of the two-story apartment I’m in and plonked into a wee granny flat out on the back section. But can you see it working for you?

And I'm really interested because there's been a bit of pushback through texts, through emails from people saying that consent process is necessary. I wouldn't have thought it was for a small dwelling out the back. I thought this was the very thing that people were railing against; the nanny state interfering. But a number of people are saying no, it really does provide a valuable safeguard, so I would very much like to hear from those who know far more than I do about this.

Kerre McIvor, is a journalist, radio presenter, author and columnist. Currently hosts the Kerre Woodham mornings show on Newstalk ZB - where this article was sourced.


CXH said...

The Certified Builders CEO is being rather disingenuous with his claim of losing the safeguard of the council. You only need that final claim because the builder is useless, didn't follow the rules, then just goes bankrupt and leaves you high and dry.

As for his $350,000 build. At a maximum of 600m2, this means around $6000/M2 to build. If he is correct no wonder our country is in the position it is. If not, why tell porkies.

Basil Walker said...

CXH , a double garage is 36-40 sq m . Granny flats are generally able to be swung into position with a crane mass produced , transportable with a wooden floor . Not a super 600 sqm ( 7000sq ft) mansion

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