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Govt should stop its focus on Kiwibuild

23/01/2019

AUCKLAND ACTION AGAINST POVERTY

Govt should stop its focus on Kiwibuild and offer real solutions

Housing Minister Phil Twyford has conceded that the Government is unlikely to meet its Kiwibuild targets of 1,000 new Kiwibuild homes by mid 2019. Auckland Action Against Poverty is calling on the Government stop its focus on unaffordable private housing projects and instead pour more resources to massively increasing its state housing supply, which will benefit the people most impacted by the housing crisis.

"The Kiwibuild scheme has proven to be a failed venture by the state to increase the supply of affordable private housing. The scheme is not only beyond the reach of the people most impacted by the housing crisis, who the Government has a responsibility to support, but has failed to even meets ambitious construction targets.

"No matter which way it is spun, the Kiwibuild venture has flopped. The Government would be better placed to invest its resources into using crown land to build state homes, which are within the reach of over the 9,000 people on the social housing waiting list and people struggling to keep up with the costs of private rentals.

"In several mixed developments, such as in South Auckland, two thirds of the land used for construction is being used for homes that will either be out of reach of low-income New Zealanders or will remain unused due to the inability of the Kiwibuild scheme to reach its targets. Because so many state homes are being demolished to pave way for new ones, the net increase in state houses will be of only 300, which is far below the number of people waiting to get on a state home in the city.

"As the well being budget approaches, the Government has an opportunity to refocus its efforts to ending homelessness by increasing the net state housing stock by far more than it is planning to. The Government's budget is under strain by the fast-growing accommodation supplements costs, which are a direct result of a lack of state housing, and too many people are living in motels and other unsuitable forms of temporary accommodation.

"It is irresponsible to be using crown land for expensive private housing at a time where our poorest are struggling to get by. Treasury has already advised the Government to borrow more money centrally in order to build state homes, something that would be fiscally viable considering low interest rates, instead of putting Housing New Zealand at financial risk as an entity.

"We are calling on the Government to do the morally correct thing for the thousands of people who are struggling to meet the basic costs of living and make the construction of permanent and safe public housing its number one priority.

ENDS


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