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Affordable housing: Labour still not listening

Phil Heatley MP
National Party Housing Spokesman

29 February 2008

Affordable housing: Labour still not listening

National Party Housing spokesman Phil Heatley says the CHRANZ report on declining home ownership rates is a sad indictment on a tired Government that's only woken up to the housing affordability issue because it's election year.

"We've had report after report and strategy after strategy. Most of them are saying the same thing, that high interest rates, delayed land release and regulatory roadblocks are among the biggest obstacles when it comes to the Kiwi dream of home ownership.

"Labour's only answer is that it has a few small scale schemes in the pipeline, and will look at streamlining the building consent process for desperate homeowners who are prepared to live in a Helen-approved 'starter' home.

"Of course Labour constantly passes the buck when it comes to taking some responsibility for New Zealand having the second highest interest rates in the developed world.

"And none of the details surrounding Labour's housing plans have been laid on the table for public scrutiny, while the fine-print which has surfaced has been embarrassing for Labour."

Mr Heatley says those embarrassments include revelations that the affordable housing in the flagship Hobsonville development fails to pass the Government's own test for affordability, and that there aren't vast amounts of public land which can be freed up for affordable housing projects as suggested by the Prime Minister.

"I'd invite Maryan Street to offer a comment on other CHRANZ reports where there were calls for Labour to fix the RMA and free up more land for residential subdivision?"

Just last night the Auckland City Council rejected Maryan Street's heavy-handed bill that would force developers to build affordable houses.

The criticism was damning. The council described the Housing Minister's approach as 'fundamentally flawed', said it 'would do little or nothing to address the issue of affordable housing. In fact, in all likelihood it would make things worse' and that Labour was 'studiously avoiding the primary cause of the problem'

"None of this can give the public any faith that Labour has the big picture in mind."


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