Paula Bennett’s policy to fund $9 million worth of support services is much-needed help for the homeless but smacks of yet another last minute, short-sighted and piecemeal decision, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.
“Funding services for two years will relieve some immediate issues for families but without a plan to build more affordable and state houses, it’s another ambulance at the bottom of the cliff proposal.
“Coming just two months after the Budget it is unclear why the Social Housing Minister didn’t announce this as part of her emergency housing policy. It gives the impression that – like her flying squads and relocation grants – this is another desperate and panicked response from a Government that has lost control of the housing crisis.
“It isn’t even new money. It has been reallocated from funds the Government didn’t spend last year on income-related rent subsidies – despite promising it would increase assistance for those struggling to afford skyrocketing rents.
“It is patently obvious that National has no plan to build the houses that Auckland is crying out for.
“While the Unitary Plan provides a framework for building our biggest city up and out, it is not a plan to actually build homes.
“Respected housing groups, the Salvation Army and Community Housing Aotearoa, today expressed concern the Unitary Plan would allow speculative developers to build substandard properties. This shows why a government-backed affordable housing programme like KiwiBuild is so important.
“Only Labour has a comprehensive plan to tackle the housing crisis. We will look after families in desperate need by stopping the sell-off of state houses and building more. We will help the homeless into temporary accommodation through extra funding for emergency housing providers.
“Labour will embark on a Government-backed affordable house building programme and crack down on speculators pushing up house prices and locking families out of the Kiwi dream of homeownership,” Andrew Little says.