NZ Election 2020: Labour, National, Act, NZ First, and Green's housing policies

Ahead of the election the main parties in Parliament have revealed how they plan to deal with the housing crisis. 

Labour, National, ACT, NZ First and the Green Party are all hoping to get voted back into Parliament at the October 17 election and housing could be a key policy for that. 

Despite the COVID-19 recession, house prices have continued to surge with Auckland's average house prices surpassing $1 million in the month of August, a 5.4 percent increase year on year. 

Rents are also continuing to rise with many tenants facing bigger bills as the freeze on increasing rents ends.

The Resource Management Act (RMA) is a big focus for parties this year with the majority promising to change it in some way to allow more building of homes. 

Here are the housing policies for all the parties in Parliament. 


Labour says its policy is a five-point plan to support new housing during the economic uncertainty of COVID-19.

The party's website says healthy homes, children and hearts are at the focus of its policies which are designed to drive down New Zealand's rate of rheumatic fever. 

If re-elected, Labour has promised to remove planning barriers to residential construction by replacing the RMA.  

The party has also promised to expand the Healthy Homes Initiative to cover basics like heaters, curtains, bedding and floor covering. 

It will also strengthen healthy home compliance and enforcement efforts by Tenancy Services and introduce a national register to actively track and treat rheumatic fever patients 

If re-elected Labour promises to:

  • Support construction through the Residential Development Response Fund
  • Deliver 18,000 additional public and transitional houses by 2024
  • Continue to support first home buyers with First Home Grants and Loans, progressive homeownership and KiwiBuild 
  • Work with the industry to improve productivity through the Construction Sector Accord 
  • Remove planning barriers to residential construction, including by replacing the (RMA) to reduce cost and complexity
  • Regulate property managers to protect landlords and tenants, and continue the progressive homeownership scheme.

More details about Labour's housing plan can be found here


National's housing policy is also focused on replacing the RMA with new legislation that allows more homes to be built faster. 

"Homeownership is out of reach of many. There is now consensus across politicians and experts that New Zealand’s planning rules are primarily to blame," National's website says. 

"The long-term solution to getting more houses built is repealing the RMA, replacing it with an Environmental Standards Act and a Planning and Development Act. 

Along with scrapping the RMA, National has also promised a rent-to-own or shared equity scheme for social housing tenants. 

National's housing policy includes: 

  • Requiring all councils to immediately open up 30 years of growth for urban development
  • Repealing the RMA in its first term and replacing it with new legislation that allows more houses to be built at a faster pace
  • Allowing social housing tenants to buy their homes through a rent-to-own or shared equity scheme
  • Empowering Community Housing Providers to build more social houses by setting aside $1 billion from Kāinga Ora’s borrowing facility for them to access.

More details about National's housing plan can be found here


ACT would also scrap the RMA in its housing policy which is focused around "building like boomers". 

ACT would also introduce compulsory 30-year building insurance which the builder would need to purchase for all new dwellings from a regulated insurer. This would ensure homes weren't built poorly or with shoddy material, according to ACT. 

It also promised to reform the Overseas Investment Act to make New Zealand "a much more attractive destination for investment". 

"We would exempt investors from countries within the OECD from the need to receive Overseas Investment Office approval to invest here, except where national security interests are at stake. Membership of the OECD is restricted to countries committed to preserving and advancing democracy and market capitalism," ACT's website says. 

Act's housing policy includes: 

  • Repealing the Resource Management Act and replacing it with separate Environmental Protection and Urban Development Acts 
  • Introducing compulsory 30-year building insurance
  • Introducing a system of 30-year infrastructure partnerships between regional and central government
  • Reforming the Overseas Investment Act to make New Zealand a much more attractive destination for investment.

More details about ACT's housing plan can be found here


The Green Party says its policy will make housing more affordable and accessible and improve tenants’ relationship with landlords. 

"It's our plan to create a fairer Aotearoa where all people have a healthy, safe, and affordable home, no matter if they rent or own," a post on the party's website says. 

The Greens would introduce a Housing Warrant of Fitness and prioritise public housing shared equity schemes. It also promises to overhaul the building codes so new builds are warm, dry, energy-efficient and accessible. 

Green's housing policy includes: 

  • Changing the rules to empower and encourage community housing including co-housing and papakāinga
  • Maintaining the public house build programme, prioritising progressive home ownership such as rent-to-own and shared equity models, and ensuring no net loss of Crown land to market sales
  • Supporting an integrated, Māori-led community response to homelessness
  • Overhauling the building code so new builds are warm, dry, energy-efficient, and accessible
  • Expanding the Warmer Kiwi Homes insulation and heating programme
  • Requiring all residential properties for sale to include an independent check of building health and safety, including warmth, dryness, and energy efficiency
  • Regulating the rental property management market, including university halls, to professionalise rental property in a move towards European-style long term renting, and protect people against the cowboys operating in the market currently
  • Improving the Healthy Homes Standards to introduce a proper Housing Warrant of Fitness.

More details about The Green's housing plan can be found here

NZ First  

NZ First says its housing policy will get Kiwis into healthy homes and allow everyone the opportunity to buy a house. 

"New Zealand First believes that through direct government intervention, homeownership can become an integral part of each New Zealanders life," its website says. 

NZ First would establish a Housing Commission to ensure the housing issues were being solved in a non-political way. They would also encourage the use of prefabricated homes and private investment in rental housing. 

NZ First's housing policy includes: 

  • Encourage direct and long-term government participation in the housing market by establishing a Housing Commission to ensure a non-political approach in solving New Zealand’s housing issues
  • Continue to encourage the use of New Zealand expertise in prefabricated houses
  • Encourage private investment in high-quality rental housing through options such as the tax system
  • Continue to build more social housing
  • Ensure the Resource Management Act is responsive to the needs of housing initiatives and not restricted by bureaucracy 
  • Provide low-cost government funding to local authorities for new elderly persons housing and public rental housing projects through which long term 2 percent loan finance would be made available
  • Continue to implement, develop and refine New Zealand’s Housing Plan
  • Align the Residential Tenancy Act 1986 with the Building Code to ensure there is one standard for installation requirements of photo-electric smoke alarms
  • Investigate the option of families to capitalize on the Universal Family Benefit as a deposit on their first family home
  • Promote and implement innovative housing solutions on Māori title land using relocatable dwellings and appropriate changes to the Building Act
  • Support the retention of the 90-day 'no cause' eviction notices for landlords. 

More details about NZ First's housing plan can be found here.