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Govt's housing plan inadequate

24 October, 2010

Govt's housing plan inadequate

The solution to New Zealand’s housing crisis is to increase the housing stock, not simply shuffle the existing inadequate resources around, the Green Party said today.

The Minister of Housing, Phil Heatley, said on Q&A today that he was looking at various housing measures including reviewable tenancies and shifting the housing stock around the country and to other providers, but avoided addressing the reported shortage of 70,000 homes in New Zealand.

“Housing is core infrastructure. Every kiwi kid is entitled to a warm dry stable home. Phil Heatley’s plan to build 30 new houses across the country is pitiable,” said Green Party Co-leader, Metiria Turei.

“The Minister is deliberately choosing to overlook his own housing advisory group’s report — a report that sets out how extreme the housing crisis is at every level,”

That report, Home and Housed: A Vision for Social Housing in New Zealand, showed that:

-New Zealand has 70,000 too few homes for current demand;
- Young families cannot compete in the housing market against older, wealthier or overseas buyers;
- Housing building materials are increasingly expensive for new home builds;
- Half of those in the private rental market require an accommodation supplement because market rents are unaffordable;
- 8,500 to 20,000 New Zealand households face extreme housing issues.


“Reviewable tenancies will result in greater churn through the state house system. The policy change does nothing to address the fundamental problem faced by those without homes: There are too few houses available and, those that are available, are unaffordable,” said Ms Turei.

“Creating a cycle by which people are moved out of state housing into barely affordable private rental housing will not impact on the housing crisis. It simply intensifies the instability and financial duress thousands of our families face.

“John Key’s Government can address the housing crisis and the economic crisis by building more state housing. Cutting the 2010/11 budget for upgrading and acquiring state houses by $100 million was both socially harmful and economically short-sighted.

“A capital gains tax on investment properties is another way to take some of the speculative heat out of the housing market to make housing more affordable.”

The Green Party’s Mind the Gap package recommends a comprehensive state house building program to increase the stock by 6000 homes over 3-5 years, creating 28,000 jobs in the process. The package would be funded by a capital gains tax on housing (exempting the family home).

“If the Government picked up on our findings, they could build 6000 new homes for around the same price as their holiday highway from Puhoi to Wellsford. Instead, they’re choosing to leave thousands of kiwi families to struggle to find for decent place to call home,” said Ms Turei.

Home and Housed: A Vision for Social Housing in New Zealand:
http://www.dbh.govt.nz/vision-for-social-housing-nz

Green Party’s Mind the Gap package:
http://www.greens.org.nz/mindthegap#tab5

ENDS


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