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State home building for jobs, homes, transport

15 October 2008
Advance state home building for jobs, homes, transport

The Green Party says it is time to join the dots between tough economic times, job losses in the construction and timber industries and chronic housing shortages.

"New home building consents have fallen by 42 percent since mid 2007. This has led to major unemployment not just in the construction industry, but in all the industries that feed it," Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

"Carter Holt Harvey has just announced the closure of two plants and will cut 300 jobs - on top of around 160 people made redundant earlier in the year. This will have a huge effect on the whole economy of Putaruru and Mt Maunganui.

"At the same time we have 10,000 people on the waiting lists for state homes. The shortage of rental accommodation pushes up prices for all tenants and makes market rentals unaffordable for many people.

"The Green Party proposes we join the dots.

"The Government has a very slow programme to build state houses. This is one of the most important investments to bring forward - to use all that spare capacity in the industry.

"It will never be cheaper to build a house. Building costs have been high because - until recently - there has been a shortage of tradespeople and materials. That is no longer the case.

"There are more dots we need to join, too," Ms Fitzsimons says.

"New housing needs to go where there is excellent public transport to create a more liveable city. The Green Party have already proposed bringing forward investment in public transport. The two must be planned together, using the principles of good urban design.

"We can use this economic crisis to create a future that uses less oil, produces less climate emissions and where it is easier to afford a home and to move around without a car. At the same time we can keep thousands of people in work.

"That's a project worth borrowing for, unlike tax cuts."


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