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High building costs need urgent attention

Raymond Huo
Building and Construction Spokesperson

30 October 2012

High building costs need urgent attention

The Government must tackle high building costs, not hide behind the guise of a review, says Labour’s Building and Construction spokesperson Raymond Huo.

“The Government’s response to the Productivity Commission’s housing affordability report has failed to address the tough issues and is letting Kiwis down.

“Bill English’s ‘work programme’ - including an inquiry into the affordability of the construction sector – needs action now. New Zealanders want a thorough approach, but they simply can’t afford to be in the same desperate position years down the track.

“Complaints about the cost structure of the industry, including businesses fixing prices, carving up markets or abusing market positions must be addressed.

“Looking at the role of big players like Fletcher’s will go some way to achieving this, but for many families desperate to get into their first home, another string of inquiries will come as a disappointment.

“At the moment materials account for 55 per cent of the cost of a new house, and they are significantly cheaper in Australia.

“Productivity Commission Chairman, Murray Sherwin, said back in December that the cost of building a new house in Auckland is now 25 per cent higher than either Melbourne or the Gold Coast, and the difference is ‘not due to the requirements of the building code’.

“Yet so far, all we have heard from this Government are the same old clichés about how we must ‘reduce delays and costs of RMA processes’ to supposedly get things moving.

“Timber and concrete are cheap natural products produced here in New Zealand but for some reason Kiwis looking to build are paying through the nose.

“We all want to see the reduction of unnecessary delays. But getting families into affordable homes is going to take more than tinkering,” Raymond Huo said.

ENDS

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