Sunday, 23 October 2016

Secondary kitchens, again

During the earthquake recovery, my Canterbury colleague John Fountain wanted to build a secondary flat into his house to help meet the demand for housing.

The planning czars stopped him.* 

John's since moved to Nelson. Nelson also isn't keen on secondary flats. John's on the case. Here's his piece at the Nelson Mail.
Tourism in the Nelson-Tasman area is booming, but residential households are excluded from sharing in the gains by a prohibitive regional tax. The same tax also inhibits the development of affordable rental housing in decent residential areas in our region.
The tax in question masquerades as a "development contribution" on second kitchens : $25,000 in Tasman and $10,000 or more in Nelson. A second kitchen in one residential dwelling is "deemed to be" an actual second dwelling in each region's District Plan, and therefore subject to a full, second development contribution.
Homeowners can and do choose to have as many bedrooms, bathrooms, toilets, living rooms, study spaces, recreation rooms, garages and workshop spaces, as they want and can afford. But try to have a second kitchen and you'll have to pay an extortionary tax, if you meet all other requirements for a second dwelling on your property. Since a renovated/new second kitchen might cost anywhere between $10,000 to $25,000 homeowners effectively pay a sales tax well over 100 per cent of actual costs. Naturally, few homes with second kitchens are ever built (at least legally).
* The only sense I've been able to make of it is that the Grand Pooh-Bah of Christchurch planning at the time couldn't be bothered to change the rules that pre-dated the earthquakes - and especially not if some of the relatively undamaged houses around the University might turn into student flats and annoy rich privileged old homeowners near the university who loved to walk their silly little dogs around campus but would be happier to see the university burn for want of student housing than to ever have a student live anywhere near themselves.

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