We must crack housing unaffordability: Kiwi Party
Gordon Copeland Press Release
EMBARGOED UNTIL 10.30AM, SATURDAY 12 APRIL 2008
We must crack housing unaffordability nut, says Kiwi Party
MP Gordon Copeland, speaking at The Kiwi Party Hamilton Regional Conference, has announced that restoring the dream of home ownership for young kiwi families is a key priority for his Party leading up to this year’s elections.
“Housing in New Zealand is now less affordable than at any time in my adult life,” said Gordon Copeland who is in his 60s.
“Simply stated, home ownership must become a national goal.”
He announced three policy initiatives.
“Firstly artificial restraints on the supply of land, through Metropolitan Urban Limits and other so-called “smart growth” initiatives must go. The economic equation is quite straightforward. If you intervene to limit the supply of land for housing, then its price will go through the roof!”
In Auckland, for example, land inside the Metropolitan Urban Limit is worth between 8 and 13 times more than land just outside! Much of this land is held by “land bankers” i.e. people who have purchased the land just to hold it in the hope of making a profit, but with no intention of making it available for subdivision. As a result, section prices are greatly inflated. We should aim for a price of about $45,000 for a 500 square metre section, not the $175,000 or more we are currently seeing.”
“Secondly, new infrastructure such as sewerage and roading can now, thanks to a recent bill passed in Parliament, be financed by way of local council bond issues with debt repayment spread on an intergenerational basis. This will reduce, and in some cases eliminate, the need for the ‘development levies’ now charged by local councils which are, in reality, ‘new house purchaser infrastructure charges’.”
“Thirdly, we will amend the Building Act to simplify the new home consent process. The Master Builders Federation have informed the Commerce Committee, of which I am Deputy Chair, that while they need just four or five pages of plans to build a new home, they now need twelve or thirteen pages of plans to obtain the necessary consent! That is absurd and must change.”
“The current severe unaffordability crisis is a result of poor law and regulation. The good news is it can be fixed and these Kiwi Party policies will get the job done.”
Mr Copeland criticised the Government’s response so far to the housing affordability crisis as “frighteningly inadequate”.
“Sadly I have to conclude that they do not have the policy answers to restore the dream of home ownership.”