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Clark's empty promises on housing affordability

Phil Heatley MP National Party Housing Spokesman

2 April 2008

Clark's empty promises on housing affordability

National Party Housing spokesman Phil Heatley says Helen Clark's promise while in Opposition to 'ensure' couples and those on low incomes can afford to buy their own homes has been laid bare as empty rhetoric.

"A report by her own department has made a total mockery of the pledge she made as Opposition Leader. It reveals the Labour Government has stood by as the dream of home ownership has slipped further and further away from those she promised to help."

The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet has prepared a report which catalogues Labour's eight years of failure on home ownership and overseeing the highest mortgage interest rates for a decade.

The alarming figures include statistics that show the consent process can add up to $55,000 to the cost of building a new home.

The House Price Unit also concluded that a couple would need a deposit of $122,000 and a single person, $170,000 just to get on the housing ladder. It says that in 2000, 59% of renting couples and 11% of singles could have afforded the lowest quartile priced house, but by 2006 that had dropped to 29% of couples and only 2% of renters.

"In recent weeks, Labour has attempted to take some of the heat out of the inevitable criticism that this report would have created by announcing measures which have been described by the media as 'snipping away at the edges'.

"And alongside those, Labour is now telling people they should get used to a lifetime of renting. That is a far cry from Helen Clark's 1995 promise that 'I want our people to have homes they can afford. And I want the Labour Government to ensure that low income people and young couples can buy their own homes again as we always have in the past'.

"Labour's rhetoric on home ownership does not measure up to the reality.

"Its 'affordable' homes in Hobsonville don't pass its own 'affordability' test, the list of Crown land that Helen Clark said would be freed up for affordable housing included the Auckland zoo, and Maryan Street's affordability bill has been rejected by local authorities.

"Instead of tackling the real causes of housing affordability, like the second highest interest rates in the developed world, low take-home pay, and the forest of red tape and paperwork, Labour is more interested in trying to hide its broken promises."


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