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Housing bill misses the big picture

Phil Heatley MP
National Party Housing Spokesman

4 December 2007

Housing bill misses the big picture

National Party Housing spokesman Phil Heatley says a bill introduced by new Housing Minister Maryan Street fails to address the big picture when it comes to housing affordability.

“As National Leader John Key signalled in his annual conference speech this year, housing affordability is a priority for National.

“Labour’s legislation totally misses the big picture, such as the adequate supply of suitable land for housing both inside and outside city limits, the mass of red tape which is swamping builders, and the ability of homebuyers to overcome high interest rates when the tax on their pay is unjustifiably high.

“National is yet to decide whether to support the bill, but I’m convinced that desperate young house hunters will be totally disappointed with what Labour has dished up.

“The Minister has even suggested that buyers of the affordable homes this legislation is supposed to produce could be locked out of the capital gains that their neighbours enjoy when, and if, they ever choose to sell.

“That’s not going to help them up the housing ladder.

“National challenges Maryan Street to produce any evidence about how big a difference this is likely to make in a climate where our interest rates are among the highest in the developed world. It will not address affordability issues for the vast bulk of home buyers.”

At the National Party Conference this year, National signalled it would:

- Ensure people are in a better financial position to afford a house.

- Free up the supply of land.

- Deal with the compliance issues that drive up building costs.

- Allow state house tenants to buy the houses they live in.

Mr Heatley says Labour’s road-to-Damascus conversion on housing affordability flies in the face of earlier opposition to a select committee inquiry on housing affordability.

“Labour does not want people to consider what is really driving house prices in New Zealand.

“The cost of servicing a mortgage, as a percentage of income, has ballooned under their watch, and new regulatory hurdles have been put in the way.

“Desperate house hunters hoping for relief in the short term have been let down by Labour again.”


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