I just scanned through the NZ productivity Commission’s report (check out the media release and or download the report here) . It’s 343 pages, and clearly has some useful material on reforming zoning planning laws and regulations. Ditto for the City Consultant’s report to CHRANZ (here) which contains a wealth of survey style information on the demand side of housing markets in NZ.
But the authors of neither document seem to be aware of decades of policy research on affordable housing in Canadian municipalities like metro Vancouver and Toronto, where both rental and home ownership costs have rapidly become beyond the reach of even middle income individuals and families (I did a search on the pdfs for the NZ documents for terms like Canada, Vancouver, secondary suite, family flat, granny flat…and came up with 0 hits!!). How on earth did our NZ based researchers missed Canadian style “Smart Growth” strategies that cultivate an active secondary suite market? A shame really…but we’ll change things!! The economic and public policy common sense of secondary suite policies of Vancouver and related metropolitan municipalities is overwhelming – especially to those who believe that regulatory reform at the municipal level is needed, and needed badly, to address growing affordability problems in Auckland and now (for a different reason) my home, Christchurch.