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NZ Government Housing Commitment Applauded

"New Zealand Government Housing Commitment Applauded"

Hugh Pavletich FDIA
Co author - Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey
Performance Urban Planning
Christchurch
New Zealand

January 30, 2009

Following the recent release of the 2009 5th Edition Demographia International Hopusing Affordability Survey, the New Zealand National led Coalition Government Housing Minister Hon Phil Heatley, soon after released a public statement "Bringing better balance to the housing market".

Mr Heatley states -

"National understands there'll be property cycles but the recent cycle has been so extreme as to suggest there are fundamental problems with how the market is operating, notably around the supply of land"

"The research proves that many first home buyers are excluded from entering the property market by a number of factors, including restrictive zoning and consent laws, which not only make life difficult for ordinary Kiwis, but are major factors in New Zealand's poor productivity and economic growth levels."

"I am pleased to say the Government will be introducing initiatives aimed at improving housing affordability."

Mr Heatley then stated that along with reforms to the Resource Management Act and the Building Act, the focus will be on -

* Ensuring Councils plan for forward supply of suitable land.

* Making redevelopment easier.

* Delivering sustainable resourcing for the non Government housing sector.

* Work with Councils to remove planning restrictions for housing provision on Maori communal land.

* Offering alternative shared ownership and financing arrangements for homeowners.

* Increasing trade training.

* Establishing an Options and Advice Service by Housing New Zealand.

Prior to the recent general election November 8, 2008, the National Party while in opposition, had initiated Parliaments Commerce Committee Housing Affordability Inquiry under the Chairmanship of Hon Gerry Brownlee and its Housing Spokesman Hon Phil Heatley completed an extensive United Kingdom and United States Housing Study Tour.

During 2007, the National Party Leader Hon John Key, now Prime Minister, spoke clearly to the National Party Conference, the New Zealand Contractors Federation and Local Government, on the need to deal effectively with the housing and infrastructure difficulties local communities were having to grapple with.

The international standard for housing affordability, is that housing should not cost any more than three times gross household income (the Median Multiple).

New Zealands residential construction has slumped from its peak in mid 2004 when in excess of 30,000 residential units were built to less than 14,000 units per annum, with just 1.168 units consented for November 2008 - simply because Local Government is currently "not allowing" affordable new housing to be built.

The recently released 2009 5th Edition Demographia Survey found that of the 265 major urban markets surveyed the average Median Multiple for Australia was Australia 6.0; New Zealand 5.7; Ireland 5.4; United Kingdom 5.2; Canada 3.5 and the United States 3.2.

Governments that allowed these housing bubbles to get underway and failed to deal effectively with the real structural issues in New Zealand and Australia have "paid the price" with voters, as the Fitch Ratings research found (refer Fear of losing homes drove Labor win - National - smh.com.au), following the 2007 Australian Federal election.

Commenting at the time - Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Western Sydney, Steve Keen, said household debt had become a pressing issue since the 2004 election, with total debts as a proportion of disposable income increasing from 128 percent to 160 per cent.

Tim Gattrell, National Secretary of the Australian Labour Party, noted that the new Australian Government had made significant inroads among home loan borrowers - particularly those above the average repayment.

"The new National led Coalition Government, with its Housing Minister Hon Phil Heatley, is to be applauded for providing the leadership, to restore prosperity and affordable housing" said Hugh Pavletich, co author of the Annual Demographia Survey, adding "It's now the responsibility all New Zealanders, to work constructively together, to ensure this happens".

ENDS

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