Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Home buyer subsidy discredited in Oz


Housing Spokesperson

25 August 2014 MEDIA STATEMENT
Home buyer subsidy discredited in Oz

Treasury advised against National’s policy of ramping up home buyer subsidies after it was discredited in Australia because it pushed house prices even higher, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“Documents released under the OIA (attached) show Treasury advised the Government that ‘Experience with homeownership grants in Australia suggests that such programmes tend to push prices up in a supply constrained environment by supporting greater demand, rather than improving affordability. There is a risk that by significantly expanding eligibility for the KiwiSaver Deposit Subsidy and Welcome Home Loan schemes, the Government will end up undermining affordability for first-home buyers’.

“A 2012 Australian Federal Government report found that subsidies for first home buyers in the face of constrained supply of houses had the effect of increasing prices. Because of that, plus the risk that first home buyers would be too heavily mortgaged and at risk of defaulting if interest rates went up, it recommended the grant scheme be changed or phased out altogether. As a result the grant schemes were scaled back.

“The report said the grant scheme ‘may not be the most cost-effective way of improving housing supply and affordability in the longer term.’

“It is Economics 101. You are mad if you stimulate demand in an already overheated market where supply is not keeping up with demand. As the Australian experience shows and as Treasury knows, the Government is trying to put out a fire with petrol.

“National is trying to argue a larger subsidy for new builds will stimulate construction of new homes. But Auckland house prices rose $75,000 in the last year. An extra $10,000 subsidy is not going to make up for even a month of Auckland house price growth. In contrast Labour’s KiwiBuild will be delivering homes over $200,000 below the median house price in Auckland.

A report on homeowner subsidy schemes by the independent Australian think tank, The Grattan Institute said: ‘Because supply has been constrained, first home buyer assistance has not only failed to increase ownership levels but may have pushed up prices, benefitting sellers and making it harder for many households to own their first home.”

“Instead of building large numbers of new affordable houses as Labour will do through KiwiBuild, and taxing speculators as Labour will do through its capital gains tax that excludes the family home, National has thrown $218 million on the bonfire of the Auckland housing market.

“It is not only a waste of taxpayers’ money, but as the Australian experience shows, it will actually make things worse. Cash hand outs to first home buyers will push house prices up, enriching vendors, and actually make things harder for first home buyers. After six years in office, this poorly thought through and ineffective response to the housing crisis is pathetic.”

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Relevant Consents Gained: Government Unveils RMA Reform Package

The government has formally hauled down the flag on its attempts to alter the balance of environmental and economic priorities in the Resource Management Act, unveiling a 180-page Resource Legislation Amendment Bill containing reforms that have been largely endorsed by most political parties. More>>


Closing Schools And Such: Interim Redcliffs Decision Announced

“While the school’s board has argued that circumstances that could give rise to potential disruption are extremely unlikely, advice from technical experts has shown these concerns cannot be ruled out." More>>


Jane Kelsey: High Court Can’t Make Groser Provide TPPA Information Faster

‘This week we went back to court to challenge Trade Minister Groser’s stalling tactics over the release of information on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations, following a High Court order that he reconsider the Official Information Act request I made last January’, said University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey, first applicant in the case. More>>

Werewolf 58: No Climate For Change

The last time the global community tried to take collective action on climate change the world’s leaders finally came to agree that every not-too-onerous effort should be made to hold global warming to 2°C above the pre-industrial average. At Paris, all 150 participant countries nations will have put forward their pledges... On the information available, New Zealand's is the second weakest contribution of any nation in the developed world. More>>


Lambton Quay Shutdown: Object Was Made To Look Like Bomb

Police cordoned off part of Lambton Quay Wednesday afternoon, saying that a suspicious package had been found. Buildings were evacuated and buses were detoured. The army’s explosive ordnance disposal unit was brought to the Quay. More>>


Public Sector Still Shrinking: Record Low Number Of 'Backroom Bureaucrats'

Ongoing restraint in the public sector and a focus on better frontline services has seen a further reduction in the number of core Government employees, State Services Minister Paula Bennett says. More>>


Disobeying The Law: Police Censorship Of Crime Research “An Outrage”

The Green Party is calling on Police Minister Michael Woodhouse to ensure Police scrap controversial contracts that place onerous restrictions on academic researchers’ access to Police data, the Green Party says. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news