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Budget delivers on housing, but not earthquake strengthening

Budget 2015 delivers on housing but leaves a gaping hole in earthquake strengthening

Property Council is pleased with the Government’s budget announcement which has unveiled 420 hectares of land and a $52 million pledge to work with private developers in Auckland.

It is a well-established fact that housing in Auckland has reached crisis point, with fewer Kiwi families being able to own their own homes than ever before.

Auckland has one of the most expensive house prices in the developed world, due to a myriad of issues: lack of land, sufficient infrastructure and over-regulation.

Property Council’s chief executive Connal Townsend says without serious attempt at addressing these, the supply of housing won’t be able to meet the demands of Auckland residents or Auckland Council’s aspiration to be the world’s most livable city.

“We absolutely commend the Government’s attempt to address housing and want people to understand that infrastructure and land are at the heart of the issue.

“This release of land for development to relieve Auckland’s overheated market is real progress.”

Property Council is disappointed that the Government’s tax policy still did not address the deeply problematic issue of earthquake strengthening for thousands of property owners and businesses around New Zealand.

“Our tax laws don’t treat strengthening work fairly even though we’ve had encouraging announcements on how earthquake prone buildings will be assessed and addressed over the next 10 years.

“We commend the Government’s risk-based approach to earthquake-strengthening around the country, but the fact is that the costs remain an issue – especially for our smaller towns and those in the high-risk zones.

“Commercial property owners cannot claim tax on carrying out life-saving upgrade work, but can do it if their buildings collapse and kill people in the event of seismic activity; it doesn’t make sense.

“We would’ve have liked to see Government amend our current tax laws within the existing tax policy framework to explore options for property owners when they’re suffering major economic losses associated with upgrading.

“Tax laws also fail to account for a significant portion of heritage listed buildings which require upgrading, but are owned by tax-exempt entities such as charitable trusts. These owners will definitely fail to upgrade many beloved community buildings if some kind of non-fiscal measure is not offered to them.”

Property Council is pleased with the Government’s ongoing commitment to the Christchurch rebuild. The promised $108 million over four years, will sustain the momentum of delivering critical anchor projects, which are necessary for the city’s success.

ENDS

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