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Government following the Green Party lead on housing

3 October 2013

Government following the Green Party lead on housing

The Weymouth rent-to-own and social housing project announced today shows that National is now playing catch-up with the Greens on housing policy after John Key rejected Green Party plans for similar initiatives at the beginning of the year, Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said today.

At the start of this year, the Greens launched the Home for Life package, centred around a large-scale Government-led affordable house-building project coupled with the Progressive Ownership shared equity scheme to give low and middle income families a pathway to owning their first home. When asked if he would support such policies at the time of the Home for Life launch, John Key said “No”. The Weymouth development will be government-led and allow people to buy 113 of the houses using rent-to-own/shared equity schemes.

“John Key’s a Johnny-come-lately on affordable housing,” said Mrs Turei.

“Earlier this year, he refused to back the Green Party plan for government-led programme of affordable house-building and a shared equity scheme to give young families a pathway to homeownership. Now, his government is adopting Green Party policy in a late attempt to limit the political damage it is taking over its housing failures.

“The Weymouth development is a welcome move but we need more than this token effort. There is a real shortage of affordable housing in Auckland and it will take more than 113 new rent-to-own houses to fix the problem.

“If we’re going to give ordinary Kiwi families a real opportunity to own their own home, we need more than National’s half-hearted efforts. We need far more houses built and a government shared equity scheme like the Greens’ Progressive Ownership.

“Successive governments built affordable housing and passed their low cost of capital on to first home buyers through State Advances. Those policies led to our once world-leading rates of homeownership.

“It’s time to go back to what works. The government needs to lead the building of affordable homes, which the market is failing to provide and the Government needs to give young families a hand-up through the Greens’ Progressive Ownership scheme.

“Progressive Ownership makes owning a home truly affordable for young families. By passing on the Crown’s low cost of borrowing, Progressive Ownership is cheaper than a commercial mortgage with greater flexibility and no risk of default. It’s a modern version of State Advances. It’s time the Government joins the 21st century and gives Kiwi families a real chance to own their own home again,” said Mrs Turei.

Additional information: Green Party Home for Life package

Oral question from Metiria Turei to John Key, 30 January 2013:

Metiria Turei: Does he not agree that our home building programme for homes averaging around $300,000 plus a progressive ownership scheme that is deposit and mortgage-free for young families would give young families that pathway to owning those homes and therefore reverse the major decline that we have seen in homeownership rates?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: No, but can I congratulate the member on at least sticking to arguing that they are going to build a four-bedroom home in Auckland for $300,000 or less, because Labour is up at $550,000 now and it will probably be $750,000 by next week.

…..

Metiria Turei: Given that there are homes for sale for around $300,000 in his own electorate, will the Prime Minister now concede that the problem is not that building a $300,000 home in Auckland is impossible but that there are not enough of them and it is not in the interests of private developers to build more of them, and that that is why we need a Government-led building and progressive ownership programme of affordable homes for young Kiwi families who desperately need them?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Look, in relation to the last point, no. In relation to the first one, I have never said you cannot buy a house for $300,000 or less in New Zealand. What I have said is that it is disingenuous to argue that that is a four-bedroom home. And guess what? As I said yesterday, David Shearer had a road to Damascus experience—or, actually, it was a road to Ponsonby experience—and realised that it would cost a lot more than $300,000.

ENDS

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