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Maybe not, Minister? Nick Smith’s housing measure suppressed

Sir Humphrey: Minister, remember the Housing Affordability Measure work you asked us to prepare back in 2012? Well, it’s ready now.
Minister Smith: Oh goodie, what does it say?
Sir Humphrey: Nothing.
Minister Smith: Nothing?
Sir Humphrey: Well, sir, you asked us to prepare a measurement of affordability and we simply couldn’t find any evidence to support such a notion.
Minister Smith: Oh, bugger. Well, get my togs, towel and get me to the nearest river. I’m going swimming!

The scene in Nick Smith’s office as he tries to bury the long-awaited Housing Affordability Measures – delayed since 2015 – would be farcical if it wasn’t such an important issue, says Labour’s Housing Spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“It might’ve seemed like a good idea at the time, but after at least two years of delays and faced with an ever-deepening housing crisis it looks like the Minister is scrambling to suppress the HAM.

“It looks like an episode of Yes, Minister and it would be funny if it wasn’t such a serious issue for New Zealand.

“The officials are right: New Zealand needs a credible affordable housing measure. The HAM makes a lot of sense and it appears it won’t see the light of day during an election year.

“Nick Smith is suppressing the facts because they show what a ham-fisted hash he’s made of the housing portfolio. First the Government buried the housing portfolio name, now they’re burying the facts that show what a poor job Nick Smith is doing in this critically important area.

“Rising housing costs have eaten the benefits of any rise in incomes last year for Kiwi families. Analysis by the Parliamentary Library shows that households spent $3 billion more on housing in 2016 compared to 2015.

“Last year the average household’s income rose $32 a week, while average housing costs rose by $30 a week. It’s clear the Government simply can’t deal with the Housing Crisis.

“Labour would fix the Housing Crisis and get on with our KiwiBuild programme to build 100,000 affordable homes for all New Zealanders,” says Phil Twyford.