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The ball’s in your court Mr English

Spokesperson for Housing

21 August 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT
The ball’s in your court Mr English

The Government is right to be concerned about housing affordability in New Zealand, but has the power to release land itself, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Annette King says.

Her comment follows Bill English’s threat that councils must make more land available for housing or the Government will change the rules.

“The Government’s had the Productivity Report on housing for six months, yet all we’ve had is a lot of hot air around housing affordability and a whole heap of blame shifting - particularly onto local government. Ultimately, however, the ball is in Bill English’s court.
“Auckland is the area most in need of new housing. The city needs 12,000 new homes a year but there’s only 2 – 3,000 being built. There are large tracts of government land available which could be used if the Government was serious about the housing crisis in Auckland.

“The Government knows that it’s not only about releasing land, but it’s also about the affordability of the land. Urgent action is needed on both those fronts.

“National has previously opposed efforts for genuine mixed housing models such as that proposed by Labour in Hobsonville. In Opposition John Key argued against any state houses being built at Hobsonville, calling such construction ‘economic vandalism’.

“Since National has been in Government it has cancelled initiatives such as the Gateway project and has also overseen the biggest exodus of construction workers to Australia and other countries in living memory - in the March 2011 year over 750 of the sector’s workers left.

“The construction industry has raised strong fears that it will struggle to meet the demand for Christchurch alone. It has also pointed out the current slump could last for another three years at least.

“It is action, not threats, that is needed,” said Annette King.

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