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Government tinkers in face of housing crisis

Annette KING

Housing Spokesperson

28 October  2012                                                          

MEDIA STATEMENT

Government tinkers in face of housing crisis

The Government appears set to disappoint New Zealanders again by offering token tinkering in response to the housing affordability crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Annette King.

“Bill English seems to think the housing affordability crisis can be solved by the usual National party hobbyhorses of weakening the Resource Management Act and lowering standards for property developers.

“Such changes will only be tinkering around the edges for thousands of Kiwis. The Government clearly doesn't realise that the main problem is affordable housing for low and moderate income earners, who just can’t find houses.

“The construction of affordable housing has been described as the ' missing rung of the housing ladder' as there is a tendency for new private sector-financed houses to be large and expensive.

“Home ownership and affordable housing rates have dropped dramatically from a peak of around 75% in the 1980s to 65% today. This has impacted on younger people, the very people we want to keep in New Zealand. Nearly half our young people are now in rental accommodation compared to 20% in the late 1980s. Another reason so many are leaving the country for good,

“Unless the Government thinks outside its narrow box and looks at innovative ways to get people into affordable housing the crisis will grow while the Government sits tinkering.

“It's time for a long term housing policy, which includes a real partnership with local government, starting by including housing as part of their core services.

“Labour wants measures to put the missing rung of the housing ladder in place and give people a leg up to it.

“We need to have more houses in the $350,000 to $450,000 range built, have quality and efficiency standards in rentals, have more social housing and introduce a capital gains tax to deter property speculation.

“The Government has waited seven months to respond to the Productivity Commission but has simply repeated its old mantras. It’s seems likely that tomorrow disappointed New Zealanders will ask ‘is that all’?”

ENDS

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