DAB sees law as way to lift land supply

Local | Charlotte Luo 9 Sep 2019

Invoking the Lands Resumption Ordinance can help increase short- to middle-term land supply for public housing in new development areas, the city's biggest political party says.

Six members of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong protested outside the government's headquarters yesterday.

Lawmaker Edward Lau Kwok-fan said as long as the government has detailed plans and lets citizens know they will not abuse any plots, there is a low chance the implementation of the ordinance will be challenged.

In last year's policy address, the government committed to allocating 70 percent of the housing units on its newly developed land for public housing.

For the 10-year period from 2019-20 to 2028-29, the government will revise the public/private split from the original 60:40 to 70:30.

The supply targets for public housing will be 315,000 units and for private housing 135,000 units.

Lau said the revision won't change the public housing shortage.

He said even if the government uses all the land for public housing, only 248,000 units can be built in the next 10 years, which is 67,000 units less than the targeted 315,000 units.

"The DAB believes that in order to solve the shortage of supply in the long term, the government must have steady and sufficient land supply, otherwise everything will be just empty talk," he said.

Looking back on past experience, developing new areas and using the Lands Resumption Ordinance to obtain land to increase the short- to middle-term public housing supply will be relatively effective, he said.

Lau said the government is gathering opinions for the policy address, and the DAB proposed using the ordinance to increase the supply of public housing when it met Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor earlier. He hopes the government will adopt the proposal.

The average waiting time for public housing rose to 5 years in November, marking a record high.

The use of the ordinance was discussed in the Legislative Council last June.

At the time, Secretary for Development Michael Wong Wai-lun quoted the Basic Law, which stated that the government can't just "neglect the importance of respecting the right of private ownership of property when deciding to exercise its statutory power to resume private land."

"The government must adhere to the spirit of and the constraints imposed by the law," he said.

charlotte.luo@singtaonewscorp.com

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