Building products shakeup to lower prices

3 May 2024

2 minutes to read

The coalition Government is eliminating barriers to the use of overseas building products to make it easier and more affordable to build in New Zealand, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says. 

“Our Government has a plan to rebuild the economy to help Kiwis get ahead, and part of that plan includes cutting red tape and building more housing and infrastructure. 

“It has become more difficult and expensive to build in New Zealand, with the cost of building a house increasing by 41 per cent since 2019. It is around 50 per cent more expensive to build a stand-alone house here than in Australia.  

“Part of what drives up costs is the amount of red tape. For example, it is almost impossible to use new building products in New Zealand without facing huge delays, with some approval pathways taking up to two years before a new product is recognised for use. 

“This red tape entrenches the use of well-known products, which lowers competition, increases the risk of supply chain disruptions like in the recent GIB shortage, and ultimately makes it more expensive to build anything.  

“That’s why the Government is making three changes to the Building Act that will increase the availability of high-quality affordable building products and help lower the cost of building in New Zealand.” 

The changes are: 

  • Recognising building product standards from trusted overseas jurisdictions removing the need for designers or builders to verify standards, which is time-consuming and costly.
  • Requiring Building Consent Authorities to accept the use of products that comply with specific overseas standards that are equivalent to or higher than those in New Zealand.
  • Approving the use of building products certified through reputable certification schemes overseas. For example, the approval of one Australian scheme, WaterMark, could immediately provide Kiwis with access to 200,000 products.  

“This is a major shakeup that will drive down the cost of building without compromising on quality, to make it easier and more affordable for people to build or renovate a home. 

“It will also help improve the country's resilience to supply chain disruptions and reduce barriers for Kiwi businesses trying to find alternative approval pathways in New Zealand and export their product overseas.  



“The Government has also exempted all projects under $65,000 from paying the building levy and required Building Consent Authorities to submit timeframes for building consents. We’re also cutting red tape and costs on farmers building small dams by raising the height threshold for safety regulations from one to four metres. 

“Cutting red tape and building infrastructure are part of the Government’s wider plan to rebuild the economy, which also includes stopping wasteful spending, delivering tax relief, growing skills and strengthening international connections. 

“It is only through a strong economy that we can lower the cost of living, lift incomes, and invest in the public services New Zealanders rely on.” 

The Building (Product Certification) Amendment Bill will be introduced later this year with the intention that legislation will be passed before the end of 2024.  

The release of a draft plan to ease restrictions on building materials from overseas for public consultation is one of the commitments in the Government’s latest Action Plan. 

These changes also give effect to some of the recommendations made by the Commerce Commission in their market study into residential building supplies. The Commission recommended creating clearer compliance pathways for a broader range of key building supplies and exploring ways to remove impediments to product substitution and variations. 

Read the Beehive press release.

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