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Report: govt should free up land

Published: 7:53AM Saturday August 16, 2008 Source: Newstalk ZB

The Government is being told to to free up more land to improve housing affordability.

The Commerce select committee has made ten recommendations it believes will ease the pressure on home buyers.

Among them - ensuring councils and landowners are encouraged to plan for and sell suitable land for subdivision, so the supply of land meets demand.

The committee also encourages better use of Maori land, and shared ownership and financing arrangements to make housing more affordable.

Other recommendations included lowering the threshold for compliance costs and resource consents, looking at ways to reduce construction costs, and supporting "third-sector" (charities, iwi, housing trust) involvement in housing provision.

Committee member Gerry Brownlee says changes to the Resource Management Act could also help address the problem of home affordability, but that it is not the most pressing concern for those looking to buy their first home.

Submissions to the report were divided on the possibility of a capital gains tax. Untaxed capital gain from property investment is widely believed to contribute to demand and raise prices.

The committee also wants to see better use of Maori land, and shared ownership and financing arrangements to make housing more affordable.

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