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Heed commission’s recommendations


Heed commission’s recommendations or face a looming housing crisis

Declining housing affordability and a growing housing shortage may be one of New Zealand’s greatest social policy failures of the past decade, says The Salvation Army.

This makes many of the findings in the Productivity Commission’s report on housing affordability both overdue and essential to addressing a grave social problem, says Salvation Army social policy spokesman Major Campbell Roberts.

The Salvation Army shares the commission’s concerns that planning and building regulations are unnecessarily contributing to higher housing costs, and it supports the call for Auckland Council to show how housing affordability is addressed in the Auckland Plan.

“We believe housing affordability in Auckland requires far greater attention from the council than it appears to have received,” Major Roberts says.

The Salvation Army also shares the commission’s misgivings over the future of rental housing.

Like the commission, we believe it is unwise to continue to rely on mum and dad investors to provide the bulk of private rentals, and a higher level of institutional investment, including community housing organisations, is needed, Major Roberts says.

To get to this position, we will need a far more considered and coherent policy to ensure low-income families are assisted into decent quality housing, he says.

“Such a policy response would need the recognition of housing as an essential part of the country’s social and economic infrastructure. The commission’s suggestion to include housing in the National Infrastructure Plan is a good start, he says.

“For too long, housing, and particularly affordable housing, has been an afterthought on the public policy agenda.”

Issued on the Authority of Commissioner Donald Bell (Territorial Commander)
The Salvation Army, New Zealand Fiji & Tonga Territory

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