Chris Bishop, the National Party Spokesperson for Housing issued the below statement following Winton filing legal proceedings under the Commerce Act, alleging anti-competitive conduct by Government housing agency Kāinga Ora.
Legal action by housing developer Winton against Kāinga Ora reflects deep frustration at the Government’s incompetence over housing development, National’s Housing spokesperson Chris Bishop says.
“Kāinga Ora and Government Ministers have refused to use powers under the Urban Development Act 2020 to facilitate Winton’s Sunfield development in South Auckland, which would deliver 4400 individual homes, three retirement villages, and 250,000m2 of employment, education, and healthcare buildings.
“Winton has now applied to the High Court under the Commerce Act, alleging anti-competitive conduct by Kāinga Ora.
“In the midst of an escalating housing crisis, the Government should be doing all it can to facilitate and encourage the private sector to build more houses.
“Instead, the Government is refusing to grant Winton Special Development Project status under the Urban Development Act 2020 to allow the developer to get their Sunfield project on the fast track.
“It appears Labour remains foolishly fixated on the idea that central government is the solution to all of New Zealand’s housing problems. But just one look at the colossal failure that is KiwiBuild will tell you that the Government does not have all the answers.
“The Government passed the Urban Development Act 2020 to enable developments like Sunfield, but now refuses to let the private sector use the powers under the Act. It’s no wonder Winton thinks this is anti-competitive behaviour, particularly when Kāinga Ora repeatedly outbids the private sector.
“Ministers need to explain why they have said no to fast-tracking over 4000 new homes that would have created thousands of jobs. The excuse that Kāinga Ora is ‘too busy’ isn’t good enough. What exactly are the almost-2000 extra bureaucrats at the agency doing?
“New Zealand’s housing challenges won’t be solved if the Government won’t properly assess developments like Sunfield. The Government should consider Sunfield for assessment under the Urban Development Act.”