Auditor-General exposes Key’s scapegoating of Council

The National Government's blaming of Auckland Council for the city’s housing crisis has been exposed as scapegoating in the Office of the Auditor-General’s latest report, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“The Auditor-General says Auckland Council’s part in fixing the housing affordability issue is the processing of building consents. The Office’s new report shows the Council is performing its responsibilities ‘reasonably well’.

“The Auditor-General’s review shows the Council meets the statutory timeframe for consents 98.5 per cent of the time and delivers 80 per cent of consents within 40 days.

“That demolishes claims made repeatedly by John Key and his Ministers that Auckland Council is to blame for the housing crisis. Bill English recently claimed “there was nothing left undone” by central government, and any further progress depended on Auckland Council.

“The report also calls into question the logic of the Government's Special Housing Areas which are basically fast-tracked consenting zones. If the speed of consenting is not a major problem, as the Auditor-General makes clear, it is little wonder these areas have only produced 170 houses in a year-and-a-half.

“The Government’s main response to the housing crisis has been to blame others: the Council, the Resource Management Act, unrealistic first home buyers, developers and the last Labour Government.

“It’s time National stopped the blame game and trying to distract people with publicity stunts. Instead they should start building vast numbers of affordable houses for first home buyers, and launch a serious crackdown on speculators,” Phil Twyford says.