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Bennett and Key poles apart on housing

Paula Bennett and John Key are sending out conflicting messages on whether the Government will build more social housing with the proceeds of its state house sell off, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“The Prime Minister and Social Housing Minister are saying very different things, casting more doubt over a policy that already raises more questions than answers.

“The Prime Minister said in his State of the Nation speech: ‘Initially, we will free up capital from these sales, which we’ll use for housing and other capital projects needed across government’.

“Then Paula Bennett said this week: ‘I would kind of say worst case scenario 3000 new but we think they can do far better, when asked how many houses the Government will build with the money raised from the sale of state houses’.

“Is Paula Bennett announcing new policy, over-ruling the PM, or is she just making it up as she goes along?

“It is laughable for her to suggest selling 2000 houses would fund the building of 3000 new ones.  It costs Housing NZ more than $300,000 to build a new house excluding land costs. But any houses sold to community housing providers will need to be massively discounted otherwise the community groups won’t be able to afford them.

“It sounds like the Minister was making up policy on the hoof, based on Housing NZ’s plan to build 1000 new houses a year. But this is far from credible given that over the last two years Housing NZ only managed to build 274.

“National’s policy on social housing is full of holes. John Key and Paula Bennett have just added to the confusion.”