New Zealand govt allows ‘granny flats’ to reduce housing costs

Wellington: The New Zealand government has been working to make it easier to build ‘granny flats’ to reduce the high housing costs, opening the door to new ways of living by unlocking the space in the backyards of family members.

Granny flats are a great option for both seniors and families with university-age children who can live at home but maintain some privacy and independence, as well as for families who want to provide extra support to a loved one.

“Making it easier to build granny flats will make it more affordable for families to live the way that suits them best,” Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters said on Monday, reports Xinhua news agency.

More than a quarter of New Zealand households that do not own their home spend more than 40 per cent of their income on housing, Peters said, adding high housing costs have a greater impact on Maori and Pacific people, as well as people with disabilities and seniors.

To streamline the building consent system, the government published a discussion document on Monday with proposed changes to the Building Act and the resource management system to make it easier to build granny flats or other small structures up to 60 square metres, he said.

“We’re proposing a National Environmental Standard (NES) to require all councils to permit a granny flat on sites in rural and residential zones without resource consent,” he said, adding an NES means changes can come into force quickly.

The legislative changes are expected to be in place from mid-2025.


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