Govt's housing policy passes despite filibuster

  • 08/09/2016
Labour's Chris Hipkins
Labour's Chris Hipkins

Parliament will return to normality on Wednesday after a 13-hour debate on housing, prompted by the Government trying to rush through new legislation.

National moved Parliament into urgency so it could allow the Crown to repurpose land compulsorily acquired for roads or schools into private housing developments, without offering it back to the original owner.

"It ensures that eight special housing areas, involving 762 hectares of greenfield land, can be progressed and the $4 billion investment deliver the estimated 7900 homes," says Housing Minister Nick Smith.

"There is no silver bullet to New Zealand’s long standing housing issues, but this bill takes a further step in the right direction."

Labour's Chris Hipkins was one of the brains behind Labour's takeover.

"This is Parliament in chaos - the Government clearly orchestrated a massive shambles. First of all, this legislation wasn't urgent, and second of all they constructed it in such a way that pretty much everything goes."

It meant Question Time was cancelled on political grounds for the first time in eight years.

Labour wasn't the only party uneasy about the legislation. Greens co-leader Metiria Turei says there's something fishy with the plan.

"The Government is rushing through legislation to take away people's property rights without telling them first, because of some apparent legal risk that they won't talk about," she says. "It's very dodgy."

Ms Turei says it could be described as modern-day land confiscation.

"I think you could describe this as the Government taking land from New Zealanders [and] taking their property rights."

She says ACT is hypocritical for supporting the law, despite one of its core values being secure property rights.

ACT leader David Seymour admits he doesn't like the law, even though it was his vote that got it across the line.

"The National Party required ACT's vote to do this," he says. "I said, I don't like this - you need to fix it in the long term."

Mr Seymour says Labour hijacked the process.

"If you think that the purpose of politics is to score political points then yes, Labour is very smart," Mr Seymour says.

"If you want to actually solve public policy for New Zealanders, they're wasting everyone's time."

Mr Hipkins rejected that claim.