Leonie Freeman: He waka hono tangata

He waka hono tangata

A canoe that unites the people

Our central role as Property Council New Zealand is to hono, to connect.

We connect the industry with policy makers, we connect and unite stakeholders, and perhaps most importantly, we connect our members.

We’ve witnessed this connection in spades this week, as we welcomed over 370 virtual attendees to the Residential Development Summit, in what we hope will be the last of our major events to go online (fingers crossed!). We can’t underestimate the power of this digital connection in times like these. The opportunity to ‘Zoom-in’ experts like John Badman from the UK or have live Q&A with Emma Telfer from Assemble in Australia at the touch of a button is something we could have only dreamed of just a few years ago.

While these are strange and innovative times, you have to wonder if we’re not missing other opportunities to embrace innovation.

One opportunity to innovate came through loud and clear at last week’s Summit, as well as in our ‘Yarn with the A-Team’ webinar on Monday; Build to Rent (BTR).

As someone who actually reads my soliloquies, you’ll know that we are big proponents of BTR here at Property Council. Our members tell us that they could build over 25,000 BTR homes in the next decade if only the government would treat this emerging housing model as its own asset class, as is the case for student accommodation and retirement villages.

We even sit on a Ministerial Reference Group for BTR, where a small collective of industry experts have worked with government over the past year to explain the hurdles to and opportunities for BTR. This gathering has been positive, with Minister Woods consistently promising an announcement “soonish”.

Last week’s OIO advice released to their website with zero fanfare is potentially the first step in the government’s response. The guideline, ‘Build-to-rent developments under the Overseas Investment Act 2005’ aims to clarify that New Zealand welcomes foreign investment in purpose-built rental housing, with further announcements indicated by the Minister. Watch this space.

Finally, having now reached the end of our financial year all 650 membership renewals subscriptions have now been sent out, officially kickstarting FY2023. I want to personally thank you for supporting Property Council New Zealand over the past year, and in fact, the past 46 years since our inception in 1976.

There are some exciting projects on the horizon this year, with several major pieces of legislation coming into play and the (hopeful) re-launch of our in-person events, as well as a few surprises we know will bring even more value to our members.

Hei kōnā mai (bye for now)

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