Auckland councillor Christine Fletcher under fire for comparing Labour and National's new housing policy to 'gang rape'

Warning: This article contains mention of sexual assault.

An Auckland councillor has compared National and Labour's new housing policy to "gang rape". 

Labour and National last month united to try solve the housing crisis by forcing councils to build up in urban areas and allow more subdivisions. 

During a committee planning meeting on Thursday, ​Albert-Eden-Puketāpapa Ward councillor Christine Fletcher compared the policy to rape. 

"I see it [the policy] as tantamount to the rape of Auckland and I can't believe that a piece of legislation with a significance like this is going to be rushed in such a way," Fletcher said.

The comment didn't go down well with Albert-Eden-Puketāpapa Ward councillor Cathy Casey who asked her to apologise. 

"I find that last remark to be really unacceptable as part of a debate about housing and I would like it to be withdrawn and an apology made," she said.

Fletcher said she has "no intention of withdrawing" and went on to compare it to gang rape.

"It's gang rape because it's by both Labour and National and I am appalled." 

Chairperson councillor Chris Darby then interjected and asked Fletcher to withdraw her comment. 

In response, Fletcher said she would withdraw the words "rape" and "gang rape" and replace them with "the non-consensual molestation of Auckland". But Darby said that wasn't acceptable and told Fletcher to withdraw her comments completely. 

"I will withdraw, with reluctance, those words," Fletcher said. She said she was not willing to apologise because she "feels very strongly" about the subject. 

Casey wasn't the only person upset by the comments. 

Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Ward councillor Josephine Bartley called the comments deeply offensive in a later tweet. 

"I am still shaking how dare you equate housing intensification of akld to rape and gang rape how dare you. I am deeply offended I don’t care about council rules that she withdrew her statement it was so so wrong. As a woman how insensitive and irresponsible. Just wrong (sic)," she said. 

Labour and National have committed to work together to provide policy certainty to developers and first-home buyers by cutting red tape to boost housing supply. 

To do that, the Government's National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD) that directs councils to make room for growth both 'up' and 'out' by 2024, has been fast-tracked by at least one year. 

Under the changes, people will be able to build up to three homes of up to three storeys on most sites, without the need for resource consent. Most district plans currently only allow for one home of up to two storeys.  

Modelling by PwC found the proposed rules are expected to add 48,200 to 105,500 dwellings, over the next five to eight years. 

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