But KiwiBuild is moving ahead with renewed vigour
The housing crisis is one of the biggest problems the coalition government inherited.
On coming into office in 2017, we found ourselves facing some of the highest house prices in the world, record homelessness, and young people locked out of the market.
That is the direct legacy of years of neglect and denial.
No Silver Bullet
Tackling such a big problem requires big, bold solutions. Tinkering is not an option.
The government and the Labour party of which I am a Member, believes that every Kiwi family deserves a decent and affordable place to live.
It is also important to note that there is no silver bullet.
Fixing the housing crisis requires a range of solutions and will take some time.
I am pleased that after just over one year in government we have made a start on fixing the housing crisis with a range of policies:
- We have stopped non-resident off-shore buyers from hoovering up houses that New Zealand residents need. Recent figures show that this is having a discernible impact on housing prices.
- We have stopped National’s sell-off of state houses and commenced a large build programme to create new homes for families in need. The picture below is of one of the large new development in Mt Roskill.
- We are implemented fairer tax laws to discourage speculation by extending the bright-line test and will soon legislate for the ring-fencing of investment losses.
- We have invested in Housing First, an important initiative to support homeless people off the streets and into sustainable housing where complex needs can be addressed.
- We have commenced Kiwibuild. More on the numbers below, but importantly we
have housed the first group of kiwi families already with more on the way.
Because of the above policies, we have seen house prices in Auckland stabilise and ease slightly for the first time in a decade.
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has credited government Housing Policy for its willingness to relax the loan to value ratios, making it easier for first home buyers to access credit.
Naturally, it is the job of the opposition to critique the government of the day.
That helps hold the government to account and is to be welcomed.
However, recent attacks by the National Party of government Housing Policy take hypocrisy to new heights.
The launching pad for these recent attacks was the government’s confirmation that the initial KiwiBuild targets will not be met.
Quite simply, the large projects that Kiwibuild focuses on are taking longer than anticipated to complete, and big legacy problems such as the parlous state of the building industry make things more difficult. As a government, we feel it is better to be open and upfront about these challenges, and then work to address them.
A healthy debate about policy ideas to take us forward is always welcome but it’s astonishing to hear the National party who so recently denied the existence of a housing crisis, and did nothing about it for nine years, suddenly animate itself over this issue!
Their ideas are welcome, but the political attacks will impress few.
Fixing nine years of neglect and ensuring that every kiwi family has a decent, affordable home will take more than one year.
The Coalition Government has made a start, and we will continue to positively focus on this issue as a priority.
Michael Wood is elected Member of Parliament from Mount Roskill in Auckland and Parliamentary Undersecretary to the Ethnic Communities Minister. Please read related story in this Section.
Michael Wood and his Government are fronting the Housing Crisis (A view of the Mount Roskill Development, a home-ground thing for the MP)