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Labour should hang head in shame over housing

Phil Heatley MP
National Party Leader

21 January 2008

Labour should hang head in shame over housing affordability

The Labour Government should hang its head in shame over New Zealand’s position at the bottom of the latest international survey of home affordability, says National’s Housing spokesman, Phil Heatley.

“Instead of it being easier for Kiwis to own their own houses, Labour has made it worse.”

He is commenting on a survey that shows New Zealand has the least affordable housing in the world.

”That’s disgraceful in a country that used to pride itself in the ability of its people to own their own homes.

"And it’s just getting worse year after year under Labour, regardless of all the dinky schemes they dish out.

“The cost of servicing a mortgage, as a percentage of income, has ballooned under their watch.

“Figures out just last week show payments on a 25-year mortgage of 90% of the median national house price have reached a record high of almost 50% of the average after-tax household income – up from about 36% just three years ago.

“That puts owning a home out of the reach of many people.

"Even as we see property prices begin to stabilise nationally, they are stabilising at levels well over and above the servicing ability of the average household income in most centres.

“And Kiwis have the highest interest rates in the developed world to contend with.

”By taking no direct effective action on housing affordability and then allowing the economy to run inefficiently so that interest rates skyrocket, the Government has simply compounded the problem for first-home buyers and all those who have bought houses in recent years with big mortgages.

“The Government should be doing the things that matter, like reforming the RMA and the Building Act, and looking at the lack of suitable land for housing both inside and outside city limits.

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

“Housing affordability is a priority for National. We will:

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, reinvesting the proceeds into replacement houses for other needy families.”


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