What are the risks of removing a lot of the planning rules?


If the planning rules aren’t the main problem, then removing them may lead to unintended consequences rather than more housing.  Planning rules deal with things like sunlight, character and design.  Getting rid of rules may simply mean that the quality of the urban environment is reduced with little gain for housing.  Without sunlight and shading rules for example, one new home may shade two existing homes, potentially creating damp issues. 

New Zealand has had lots of experience with deregulation promising great results and leaving a legacy of problems instead; leaky homes problems are an obvious example in the area of building. 

Planning rules are also a tool to ensure that housing development, infrastructure and transport investment are all coordinated.  Planning and sequencing where development occurs so that it aligns with transport and infrastructure reduces costs and provides greater certainty for everyone.   A hands-off approach to where new development occurs makes coordinating major investments much harder.