Phil Twyford

MP for Te Atatū

Spokesperson for Housing
Spokesperson for Building and Construction
Spokesperson for Auckland Issues
Associate Spokesperson for Transport (Auckland and Ports)

Contact Phil Twyford

Phil is a strong voice for the community in West Auckland. He campaigns for better transport, including a rapid transit busway on the north-western motorway, and speaks out regularly for his constituents. He is known for his street corner meetings and his big red van is a common sight on the streets of West Auckland.

With a background in leadership, campaigning and advocacy Phil's pre-politics career allowed him to hit the ground running when he entered Parliament. He led Labour's campaign against the way National set up the Auckland super city, and as housing spokesperson he has made housing a battleground political issue, pushing Labour's strong policies.

Career Highlights

  • Labour Spokesperson on Housing, Transport, Auckland Issues, Associate Spokesperson for the Environment (Cities)
  • Elected to Parliament in 2008
  • Founding Executive Director of Oxfam NZ (1991-99), director of advocacy for Oxfam International based in Washington DC (1999-2003)
  • Journalist, union organiser
  • BA (Political Studies), University of Auckland

Contact Phil Twyford

Te Atatū electorate office

Address: 300 Great North Road, Henderson, Auckland 0612
Phone: 09 835 0915

Parliamentary office

Address: Freepost PO Box 18 888, Parliament Buildings, Wellington 6160
Phone: 04 817 9118


Latest from Phil Twyford

Smith floods the market with SHAs, not homes

February 11, 2016

Nick Smith’s constant announcements of new Special Housing Areas which never produce homes borders on the pathological, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“It’s time the Housing Minister admitted his SHAs have completely failed to deliver the volume of new affordable homes Aucklanders desperately need.

Government turns Housing NZ into disarray

February 10, 2016

The Government has run Housing NZ down and left the organisation in disarray, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“The Auditor General has found ‘significant deficiencies’ in Housing NZ’s management of the $220 million a year it spends on maintenance contractors, after allegations were made about overcharging for work.

Joyce destroys Government rail link certainty

January 28, 2016

Infrastructure Minister Steven Joyce has destroyed the certainty the Prime Minister gave private sector investors in his State of the Nation announcement on the City Rail Link, Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says.


“Steven Joyce has again poured cold water on network charging as a way for Aucklanders to pay their share of the City Rail Link. Today he suggested the Government may require the sale of public assets as a precondition for paying its half share.

From one waiting list to another

January 22, 2016

New information shows plans to pay state house tenants to move to the regions will only increase waiting lists in those areas, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“Ms Bennett wants to give people on the Auckland waiting list cash if they agree to move to regions with empty state houses.


Rail commitment better late than never

January 07, 2016

Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says a report the Prime Minister is to announce a funding commitment for the City Rail Link is ‘better five years late than never’. 

“National’s foot dragging on Auckland transport has held back the city’s growth and prosperity. The Government played politics with Auckland transport by setting bogus targets on rail patronage and CBD employment that they themselves have abandoned as ridiculous.  Meanwhile the city’s residents have been left to sweat it out in gridlocked streets.

Social housing delivery just woeful

December 07, 2015

The Government’s  announcement of new social housing delivery by NGOs is woefully inadequate compared to the high levels of homelessness, overcrowding and slum housing, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“The Government has announced 508 new housing places yet there are tens of thousands of people who are homeless, living in campgrounds or in squalid private rentals.

Housing failure wider than Weymouth

December 03, 2015

The Government has no way of stopping the few so-called affordable houses in its Special Housing Areas being sold for windfall capital gain, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“MBIE officials told Parliament today that the houses could even be sold to non-resident foreigners.

Seniors face housing hardship after Nats do nothing

December 01, 2015

The Government has done virtually no policy work and no serious thinking about the threat of housing hardship faced by older New Zealanders revealed today in the Salvation Army’s latest report, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“Labour asked the Minister for Senior Citizens Maggie Barry earlier this year what work the Government was doing in this area. She could only cite one project in Auckland the Government had given funding for, and said there were no government papers on increasing affordable housing for seniors.

Phil Twyford Speech to Habitat for Humanity

November 28, 2015

I don’t think I need to sugar coat this for you. I think we all know that housing in this country is in the grip of a social and economic crisis.


Home ownership rates are the lowest in 64 years. And falling.



Reforms fall far short of a housing crisis fix

November 26, 2015

The Government’s proposed Resource Management Act changes fall a long way short of the reforms needed to fix the housing crisis, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“National has been blaming the RMA for expensive housing for ten years now. It is pathetic that the best they can come up with are modest process changes.

Nick Smith’s drowning, but still waving

November 25, 2015

Nick Smith is so embarrassed by the spectacular failure of his Special Housing Areas that he has pulled numbers out of a hat in a piece of desperate political spin, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“The Housing Minister today told media 500 houses have been built in his SHAs. This is despite him saying for the past two years that it was impossible to know how many had been built in the designated areas because the information wasn’t recorded.

Speech to Botany/Pakuranga Public Meeting

November 24, 2015

Housing and transport in Auckland’s south east

The title for this talk is Housing and transport: what needs to be done?

In 1901 Vladimir Lenin from his exile in Switzerland wrote a pamphlet called What is to be done? It set out his plan for a vanguard party to lead the proletariat to revolution, and it planted the idea of the Bolshevik uprising and ultimately for the Communist Party to take power in what became the Soviet Union.

Tonight I want to set out Labour’s manifesto for fixing the housing crisis and the gridlock on our streets. 

Desperate Nick Smith talks up housing failures

November 23, 2015

Nick Smith is clutching at straws as he desperately tries to talk up his failed housing policies, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“The Housing Minister trumpets nine more Special Housing Areas taking the total to 106. But the Council can only account for 102 houses built in the SHAs in the past two years.

End homelessness now – scrap flag vote and stop state house sell-off

November 18, 2015

If the Government scrapped the flag referendum and stopped selling-off state houses it could completely eliminate homelessness, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“The Salvation Army report out today shows homeless people are the collateral damage from National’s housing crisis. They have also highlighted that this a tragic, but completely preventable problem.

Foreign buyers ban will achieve what Govt failed to

November 12, 2015

Labour’s Member’s Bill to ban foreign buyers from purchasing existing homes will achieve what the Government failed to in its Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“The Government should adopt the Overseas Investment (Protection of New Zealand Homebuyers) Amendment Bill and get New Zealand the carve out Australia secured through its negotiations.

Ground-breaking new policy to make homes cheaper

November 07, 2015

Labour’s ground-breaking new policy on reforming planning rules will make housing more affordable, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

"Labour will free up density and height controls to allow more medium density housing and reform the use of urban growth boundaries so they don’t drive up section costs. This will curb land bankers and speculators.

Rapidly rising house prices shows bright line test failure

November 03, 2015

New data today showing Auckland house prices rose by $21,500 in a month show the Government’s bright line test to curb speculation on the housing market has been a spectacular failure, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

Quotable Valuable data for October shows the value of the average Auckland house increased from $896,676 in September to $918,153 in October – an increase of 2.4 per cent in just one month

Craig Foss should demonstrate accountability

November 02, 2015

The Associate Transport Minister should rethink his complacent attitude towards the Transport Accident Investigation Commission’s botched handling of the Fox Glacier crash ahead of his meeting with its Chief Commissioner tomorrow, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“In the wake of a review revealing epic bungling by the TAIC, it is not good enough for Craig Foss to meekly accept the advice of Hellen Cull. The Chief Commissioner thinks the public should move on because the Commission ‘has done everything appropriately’.

Government underfunding behind tragedy mistakes

October 30, 2015

Consistent underfunding of the Transport Accident Investigation Commission by the National Government led to an agency under-resourced to adequately handle the inquiry into the Fox Glacier crash, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“This lack of funding undermined the Commission’s ability to do its job properly. TAIC has admitted under-resourcing led to mistakes in its investigation of the 2010 accident which killed nine people.

National must rule out loan-to-income ratios

October 29, 2015

The Government must rule out introducing loan-to-income ratios following reports the Treasury is looking at the measure to cool the Auckland housing market, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“It comes as no surprise that the Treasury is pushing for new rules to restrict the amount home buyers can borrow based on the amount they earn.

Security guard’s death must lead to change

October 23, 2015

Adding the security industry to the list of high risk industries under the Health and Safety Reform Act would be the best memorial for slain 22-year-old Charanpreet Singh Dhaliwal, Te Atatu MP Phil Twyford says.

“A coroner has just issued his findings on the death of the young security guard at a construction site in West Auckland in 2011.

Bennett resorts to snide attack on the vulnerable

October 22, 2015

Paula Bennett is once again engaging in snide attacks on our most vulnerable citizens when under her Government more Kiwis than ever before are living in garages and campgrounds, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“The Social Housing Minister is claiming people are turning down state houses because of things like birds chirping in the trees next door, while National is selling-off state houses and leaving 2000 around the country empty.

Auckland house prices rising 35% faster than Sydney

October 20, 2015

Recent house price data shows Auckland house prices are now rising 35 per cent faster than those in Sydney, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“At this rate, an average house in Auckland could cost more than one in Sydney within months. It is absurd that Ponsonby is about to outprice Paddington.

Another blow to Bill’s bungled sell-off

October 16, 2015

Habitat for Humanity pulling out of the Government's state house tendering process is another blow to the Government's sell-off policy, Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“Habitat is one of the most respected housing groups. For them to withdraw from this process – following in the footsteps of the Salvation Army and the Methodist Mission – is another nail in the coffin of Bill English's ideological experiment with state housing.

Generation Rent sees another hefty price rise

October 12, 2015

Auckland’s median house price has risen more than 25 per cent in the past year making home ownership even more out of reach for Generation Rent, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. 

“It’s appalling that the price of houses has been rising by $1,000 dollars a day in the past month with the median now reaching $771,000 according to REINZ figures released today .

Auckland remains a speculator’s paradise

September 25, 2015

New Reserve Bank figures show the Auckland housing market remains a speculator’s paradise with investors taking out mortgages for more than 5000 properties a month, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

Borrowing data released today show borrowing for houses increased by $1.9 billion in the past year.

$727K and counting on loopy rules stunt

September 24, 2015

Paula Bennett has wasted three-quarters of a million dollars on her Rules Reduction Taskforce which proposed loopy rules like allowing builders to self-certify their work, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“This was $727,241 spent on a self-serving exercise in political spin. And there’s more costs to come from the publication of the Taskforce’s final report. 

Rules go from the ridiculous to the absurd

September 23, 2015

The establishment of a special unit by Auckland Council to handle complaints and investigate rogue builders confirms the  Government’s proposal to allow builders to sign off their own work is sheer lunacy, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

The revelation that the investigations unit was set up follows reported comments from the council’s manager of Building Control Ian McCormick, about an epidemic of shoddy building practices in Auckland. 

Sad day as Kiribati deportee gets marching orders

September 23, 2015

News that Ioane Teitiota will be deported to Kiribati will be a blow to him and his family and to the local Kiribati community, Te Atatu MP Phil Twyford says.

“As the local MP, I had asked Associate Immigration Minister Craig Foss to allow the family to stay in New Zealand on humanitarian grounds.

Labour’s offer to support RMA changes remains

September 22, 2015

Paula Bennett didn’t need a taskforce to tell her the Resource Management Act needs changing to make building houses easier – and Labour’s year-long offer to support reform remains on the table, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“The Rules Reduction Taskforce was nothing but a political stunt by the Local Government Minister. It covers pressing issues such as dog registration, freedom camping and paper roads.

Government should front for Kiribati deportee

September 22, 2015

Government Ministers have an obligation to meet the Kiribati-Tuvalu delegation bringing a petition to Parliament today in support of Ioane Teitiota who is facing deportation along with his wife and New Zealand-born children, Labour’s MP for Te Atatū Phil Twyford says.

“This family are devastated at the prospect of being shipped back to Kiribati; a place their kids have never lived and which is sinking below sea level.

Bill English is Finance Minister not financial advisor

September 11, 2015

Bill English had reduced himself to acting as a financial advisor rather than Finance Minister, warning Aucklanders about the housing market, instead of fixing it, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“It is remarkable that the best the Finance Minister can do to tame the out-of-control housing market is warn Aucklanders to be careful buying a house. That’s the sort of advice people seek when going to a financial advisor. It’s not what they want to hear from their Finance Minister.

‘No discernible impact’ from Govt tariff scheme

September 10, 2015

The Government’s scheme to cut the cost of building houses has resulted in only one-fifth of the touted savings – shaving less than 0.28 per cent off the average new build, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“Documents obtained by Labour under the Official Information Act show National’s tariff scheme is an utter failure. 

Government knew but didn’t act on building rorts

September 07, 2015

The Government has known about anti-competitive rorts in the building supplies market for the past four years and has done nothing about them, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“The building industry is rife with informal deals designed to stifle competition. As a result Kiwis are paying through the nose for building materials – up to 30 per cent more than Australia.

More housing humiliation for Nick Smith

September 03, 2015

Nick Smith has been completely humiliated once again – this time by Ngāti Whātua who have used his blunders to their full advantage to extract an excellent deal for Aucklanders that the minister would never have developed himself, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“Nick Smith blundered his way through the entire process of trying to get large scale vacant public land developed for housing. He didn’t do his homework and forgot that Ngāti Whātua has first right of refusal for sales of government land. Then he said he could ignore the law and Ngāti Whātua’s legitimate claims.

Report highlights National’s poor funding decisions

September 02, 2015

The Government’s poor coordination between its transport strategy and the needs of the regions has been highlighted in a new report by Local Government New Zealand, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“Local Government was forced to write its Mobilising the Regions report because the Government continues to make funding decisions which negatively impact regional New Zealand.

New figures show speculators rampant

September 01, 2015

New figures released by the Reserve Bank show there’s been an explosion in mortgage lending with most of the growth going to property investors, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

Reserve Bank data shows mortgage lending was up 6 per cent from a year ago – the fastest annual growth rate since October 2008 – and new mortgage lending to landlords rose $146 million to $2.002 billion in the month from June to July.

Govt must make most of Jetstar competition

August 31, 2015

Government agencies should pledge to always buy “the best fare of the day” to maximise competition between Jetstar and Air New Zealand and ensure savings for taxpayers while boosting services to regional New Zealand, Labour’s Transport Spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

 “Our heartland towns have a lot to gain from Jetstar’s new services announced today and the Government could do its bit by pledging the tens of millions of dollars it spends annually really do go to the airline offering the best price.

Taihoa at Ihumatao says Labour

August 27, 2015

Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford has called on the Government to rethink its controversial Special Housing Area in Māngere.

Auckland Council is today meeting to discuss the development which borders the Otuataua Stonefield Historic Reserve. This project is to get up to 480 homes and is in a rural part of Mangere called Ihumatao.


Serco wants in on state house sell off

August 22, 2015

The Government must keep scandal plagued outsourcing company Serco away from our state housing after their disastrous record running Mt Eden prison, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

"Today it has emerged that at the same time Serco was under investigation for the scandals at Mt Eden, it was trying to line up to be involved in managing state houses after they are sold off by the Government.

Housing NZ must immediately move family

August 21, 2015

Housing New Zealand must immediately move a Glen Innes family whose son contracted serious and potentially fatal health problems from the appalling condition of their state house, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“Te Ao Marama Wensor and community workers assisting her have been asking Housing NZ to move them for several months.

Another bridges bribe from Simon Bridges

August 20, 2015

Simon Bridges is embroiled in another bridges-for-votes controversy after admitting funding for a replacement bridge in Queenstown is “very much about… the 2017 election”, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“The Transport Minister is today reported as telling Queenstown locals who are unhappy with the location of the new Kawarau bridge the $25 million funding was about ‘runs on the board now prior to – if we can be very blunt about it – the 2017 election’.

Backdown whiff in state house leasing option

August 17, 2015

Bill English’s admission that the Government is looking at leasing large numbers of state houses to non-government providers has the whiff of a backdown, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“This is an acknowledgement by Bill English that he has failed to make this deeply unpopular policy work. 

National borrows Labour’s idea on urban development

August 13, 2015

Labour's Associate Environment spokesperson Phil Twyford says he welcomes the Government's adoption of Labour's policy for a National Policy Statement on urban development, and has called on the Government to take up Labour's offer to work together on these issues.

"National has been blaming the RMA for the housing crisis for nine years now. Although we only have vague intentions from Nick Smith's speech today, if he does produce a National Policy Statement it will be the first bit of real action on this issue after their years of rhetoric.

Secret meetings to sell-off state houses

August 13, 2015

The Government is having secret meetings with groups interested in buying state houses and refuses to release the names of these organisations, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“Bill English has admitted meeting with 10 organisations who want to get their hands on these assets but is refusing to say who they are. These organisations are most likely merchant bankers, private/public partnership investors and property developers – so it’s no wonder National wants to keep them secret.

Note to Bill English: this policy is a dog

August 08, 2015

New polling showing 75 of New Zealanders oppose the Government’s plan to sell-off state houses to overseas companies like Gold Coast-based Horizon, should be the final straw for Bill English to dump this failed policy, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

"Even National voters think this is a bad idea, with 60 per cent saying the Government shouldn’t do it.

PM out of touch on Auckland house prices

August 06, 2015

The Prime Minister’s comments today that Aucklanders want their house prices to keep skyrocketing shows just how out of touch he is about the housing crisis, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“John Key claims Aucklanders want the value of their homes to keep rising. But for most, that paper wealth won’t be realised unless they sell up and move cities.

Mainfreight 'appalled' by Government’s rail madness

July 29, 2015

The Government has been given a serve by New Zealand-based international trucking and logistics firm Mainfreight which says it lacks a national transport strategy, and has treated rail badly, Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says.
The company has told shareholders it is "appalled" by Treasury's recommendation that the Government shut down the rail network.

Charanpreet Dhaliwal death demands genuine health and safety reform

July 24, 2015

The killing of a security guard on his first night on the job is exactly the kind of incident that National’s watered-down health and safety bill won’t prevent, says Te Atatu MP Phil Twyford.

The coronial inquest into 22-year-old Charanpreet Dhaliwal’s death ends today.

Ministers at sea over overseas buyers register

July 20, 2015

The Prime Minister and three of his ministers are at odds over the collection of information about offshore speculators buying our houses and seem to be making things up as they go, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“John Key this morning told media the Government would publish a ‘tax non-resident list’ after October when offshore speculators will be required to have an IRD number to buy land or a house in New Zealand.

Joyce making it up on Aussie non-resident ban

July 15, 2015

Steven Joyce is at such pains to deflect attention away from his Government’s failure to address the housing crisis, he is now making up stories about Australia’s ban on non-resident house buyers, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. 

“The Economic Development Minister claims the Australian Federal Government’s ban is not working and it’s now trying to change it.

Documents depict Crown land sell-off chaos

July 09, 2015

New documents show the Government’s Budget centrepiece policy of selling off surplus Crown land for Auckland housing was a disaster from the start – and one it was warned against, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“The Treasury’s Budget documents released today show this policy was so rushed it wasn’t even put forward until after the Budget moratorium began, meaning Nick Smith risked not having it included in the May Budget.

Insulation and smoke alarms only half the answer

July 09, 2015

Minimum insulation standards and smoke alarms for private rental properties are at least a step in the right direction but the Government could and should do so much more, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“Insulating a cold house without requiring modern efficient heating will still leave tenants at risk of respiratory diseases.

Census puts numbers on Nats’ callous indifference to housing crisis

July 08, 2015

Just-released census data has revealed the human cost of National’s housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“The census shows more than 20,000 people homeless and living in dodgy and temporary shelter: boarding houses, motor camps, caravans and cars, and improvised shelters. 

Auckland house prices now 10 times incomes

July 07, 2015

Auckland house prices have risen so steeply the typical house in our biggest city now costs 10 times the median Auckland household income, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“Barfoot and Thompson reports the median house sale price in June was $786,000. That’s 10 times the median Auckland household income of $78,600, according to Statistics NZ’s Income Survey.

$74,000 quarterly rise shows crisis out of control

July 02, 2015

New figures out today showing Auckland house prices have spiked by a massive $74,000 in the past quarter is further evidence the city’s housing crisis has spiralled out of control, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“In spite of constant announcements and photo opportunities from Housing Minister Nick Smith, all the indicators show Auckland’s housing troubles are getting worse by the day.

State house sell off Bill gives extraordinary powers

July 01, 2015

The Government is about to give Ministers extraordinary powers to take direct personal control of selling state houses, exempting Ministers from normal legal requirements and leaving the sale process wide open for corruption, Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

The Social Housing Reform (Transaction Mandate) Bill tabled today is the latest attempt by a Government desperate to off-load state houses and keep its troubled policy afloat. 

New twist in state house sell-off saga

July 01, 2015

The Government has opened the door to buyers of state houses simply being landlords and not required to provide social services, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

The Prime Minister said at his post-Cabinet press conference buyers would not “have to provide social services but they could potentially provide social services either of their own accord or in conjunction with someone else”.

Four out of ten for Simon’s Bridges

June 30, 2015

The Transport Authority’s decision to fund only four of the 10 bridges promised in National’s shameless Northland by-election bribe is a huge embarrassment for Transport Minister Simon Bridges, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“After one by-election poll showed they were in trouble, National panicked and threw $70 million of taxpayers’ money at 10 bridges – most of which weren't even listed as priorities in the local Council's transport plan.

Falling consents adding to Auckland housing woes

June 30, 2015

Falling numbers of building consents being issued in Auckland will add to the city’s housing shortfall and fuel skyrocketing house prices, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford

“The Productivity Commission found there was a shortfall of around 32,000 houses by the end of 2014. It warned that if the number of new homes in Auckland don’t rise more than the current rate of about 8000 a year, there will be a 60,000 house shortfall by 2020.

English wants to flog state houses to Aussies

June 27, 2015

Bill English’s admission that he would sell hundreds of New Zealand’s state houses to the Australians is the latest lurch in the Government’s stumbling, half-baked housing policy, Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“Bill English should face reality and admit his state house sell off policy has collapsed. The Salvation Army didn’t want a bar of it. Iwi leaders said they’d only take them if they got them for free.

Bridges of Northland on backburner

June 18, 2015

Transport Minister Simon Bridges today admitted no progress has been made towards his Northland by-election bribe of 10 new bridges and could only say they would be funded sometime in the next six years, Labour's transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“This is yet more proof – if any was needed – that the Bridges of Northland were an act of pure electoral cynicism by the National Party. 

Government urged to create development body

June 17, 2015

The Government should adopt the Productivity Commission’s recommendation to create an urban development authority to drive large-scale renewal projects in our biggest cities, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“The Kiwi dream of home ownership is at its lowest in 60 years. A majority of New Zealanders are renters now. Bringing down the cost of urban land will make housing more affordable and make home ownership more achievable.

OECD report a damning indictment on housing

June 10, 2015

The latest OECD report on New Zealand is a damning indictment of the Government's failure to tackle the housing crisis, Labour's housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. 

“Auckland house prices are so out of control that the OECD rates Auckland as less affordable than New York, Los Angeles and Toronto. Auckland house prices are the second most out of step with rents in the developed world and fourth relative to incomes.

Auckland house prices up $115K in one year

June 09, 2015

New figures shows the average Auckland house price increased by a whopping $19,302 in the past month alone and is on track to crack $1 million next year, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“According to Quotable Value, Auckland house prices have skyrocketed by 16.1% in the past year, up by a staggering $114,793.

Half measure on housing standards not good enough

June 09, 2015

 Making rental properties warm and dry is too important for the half measure the Government is considering, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

The Government is reportedly looking at minimum insulation standards for rental properties but won’t set any standards for heating.

Desperate Minister resorts to oldest trick – but gets it wrong

June 04, 2015

Housing Minister Nick Smith has today resorted to National’s favourite diversion tactic – blaming the former Labour government – but as usual he is being completely misleading, Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“The law Nick Smith is about to break was only passed last year. The actions of the former Labour government are not relevant and won’t help dig the Minister out of his hole.

Uninsulated state house another broken promise

June 04, 2015

A cold, damp and leaky Otara home which contributed to the tragic death of a toddler shows the Government has failed to fulfil its commitment to retrofit all state houses with insulation and proper heating, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“This is another broken promise from National.

Oi Auckland Transport: fare’s fair

May 28, 2015

Auckland Transport should go back to the drawing board on its proposal to charge commuters for its park-and-rides, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“When we need to be getting people out of their cars and onto public transport, it’s crazy to be making it more expensive to catch the train or bus.

Is Nick Smith making it up as he goes along?

May 28, 2015


Housing Minister Nick Smith must release the list of Crown land parcels which formed the basis of the Government’s Budget announcement, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“If the public is to have any faith the Government is not just making up its housing policy as it goes along, Nick Smith needs to release this list.

Auditor-General exposes Key’s scapegoating of Council

May 27, 2015

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’.

No spade work done on big building plan

May 26, 2015


Only a quarter of the 500 hectares of Crown land the Government wants to use for new homes is understood to be suitable for building on, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“This was National’s bold new idea to tackle the Auckland housing crisis. But as with so many of National’s housing policies it has been hastily cobbled together and is likely to have little impact.

Speculator tax political stunt gone wrong

May 23, 2015

Bill English’s admission he doesn’t know whether National’s new speculator tax will have any effect shows last weekend’s announcement by the Prime Minister was a desperate political stunt, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“This Government is so desperate to look like they are doing something about the Auckland housing crisis they announced Budget tax policy as a political stunt.

Auckland land measure seven years too late

May 21, 2015

National are so desperate to look like they are doing something about the Auckland housing crisis they have dusted off Labour’s 2008 inventory of government land available for housing and re-announced it, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“Despite National ridiculing this at the time, it is a no brainer to develop vacant government land in Auckland.

House prices to a crack $1 million in 17 months

May 19, 2015

The average Auckland home is on track to cost $1 million in 17 months’ time if nothing substantial is done to rein in soaring price rises, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“Auckland’s house prices have skyrocketed 63 per cent – up a whopping $313,000 – since National came to office with the average house now costing $809,000, according to Quotable Valuable.

Why are the regions still facing restrictions?

May 13, 2015

Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford is questioning why the regions should continue to be saddled with LVR lending restrictions announced by the Reserve Bank today.

“Labour has been calling for the regions to be exempted from LVRs for the best part of a year. In the absence of any meaningful action from the Government, at least the Reserve Bank has now taken some action against property speculators.

False figures cloud Auckland transport facts

May 11, 2015

The Prime Minister should apologise and issue a correction after both he and Transport Minister Simon Bridges have been caught out misrepresenting facts on Auckland’s transport spending, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

"Both John Key and Simon Bridges have been incorrectly accusing Auckland Council of cutting its transport spending.

Bridges and Smith a brake on Auckland's progress

May 09, 2015

The dismal performance this week by Transport Minister Simon Bridges and Housing Minister Nick Smith has reinforced that the National Government is a brake on Auckland's progress, says Labour Transport and Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.
"Simon Bridges has poured cold water on Auckland's transport plan which had been debated and consulted extensively. He won't commit central government funding to the plan, but rules out funding tools like a regional fuel tax or tolls which would allow Auckland to get moving.

First state house sell-off will achieve little

May 06, 2015

The first tranche of the Government’s state house sell-off will do nothing to fix the housing crisis or better the lives of vulnerable families, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

The Government has just announced the transfer of 1600 state houses to community housing providers in Tauranga and Invercargill.

Govt dumps infrastructure costs on Akld ratepayers

May 05, 2015

The Government’s failure to invest in infrastructure to service its Special Housing Areas is dumping massive costs on Auckland ratepayers, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

Auckland Council has declined to approve three new Special Housing Areas on the city fringes, citing lack of investment in infrastructure to support the developments.

Regions pay price for inaction on housing

May 01, 2015

New figures put the cost of an average Auckland home at $800,000 and show large parts of the country facing stagnant or falling property values, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“The QV data released today shows residential property values in Auckland have almost doubled, rising 48.1 per cent, since 2007. But house values are falling in 11 regions.

Tamaki state housing transfer risky and desperate

April 30, 2015

The Government’s transfer of 2800 state houses to the Tamaki Redevelopment Company -- to be announced at 9am today -- shows it's desperation to off-load state houses and show some kind of action against Auckland's out of control housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. 

“The Government is set to announce that Housing NZ is pulling out of Tamaki and handing over all its 2800 state houses to the Tamaki Redevelopment Company which is a fledgling joint venture between the Government and Auckland Council tasked with leading the area’s urban renewal. The properties are believed to house 8000 people, and are likely to be worth more than half a billion dollars.

Even cheap houses now unaffordable

April 29, 2015

New housing affordability data show that now even the cheapest houses in Auckland are unaffordable for first home buyers, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. 

“The AMP360 Home Loan Affordability Report reveals Auckland's lower quartile house price has leapt to $587,200 in March from $554,600 in February, an increase of $32,000 in a month – completely wiping out the maximum benefit of the Government’s HomeStart programme in only one month.

Regional air routes must be maintained

April 28, 2015

The Government must use its majority shareholding to make sure Air New Zealand cooperates with second tier airlines stepping into the regional routes it has abandoned, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

Air New Zealand’s cancellation of its Kaitaia, Whakatane, Taupo and Westport routes takes effect today.

English’s sins of omission: ‘Nothing left to be done’ on housing

April 23, 2015

When Bill English said ‘there is nothing left to be done’ on the Auckland housing crisis he had overlooked a few things – a few things, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

 “He’s right if you ignore:

PM’s housing outburst bizarre

April 20, 2015

Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford has described the Prime Minister’s latest comments on the Auckland housing crisis as bizarre.

“John Key is deep in denial. He must be one of the only people left who are not concerned about the risk of the market going bust and causing immense human and economic damage. 

Double-laning Darby and Joan disputed

April 07, 2015

The Prime Minister’s by-election promise to double lane the road between Northland’s iconic Darby and Joan kauri trees has been contradicted by officials, Labour’s spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

The NZ Transport Agency has told a media outlet that not all 10 bridges named by the Government for double-laning are currently in NZTA's sights, with one, the Darby and Joan bridge, investigated “only for strengthening and other resilience improvements”.


English’s state house flog off plans exposed

April 07, 2015

Labour is calling on Bill English to confirm or deny a claim the Government is exploring a mass sell-off of state housing to tenants.

Property magnate Bob Jones writes in a newspaper column published today that the Minister responsible for Housing NZ, Bill English, told him the government was exploring the idea.

Auckland building consents: Tragic

February 27, 2015

The only word to describe the latest building consent figures for Auckland is ‘tragic’, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“Whatever the Government is doing to address the Auckland housing crisis, it is clearly not working.

Australians move on offshore speculators

February 25, 2015

John Key might want to have a quiet word with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott about Canberra's just-announced crack down on offshore speculators when he visits New Zealand this week, Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

"Tony Abbott's centre right government has announced a tax on foreign buyers, a register of foreign land and property ownership, and tough penalties for those who break the rules, following on from the recommendations of a parliamentary inquiry.

Government at odds on overseas driver crashes

February 25, 2015

National backbencher Jacqui Dean has spoken out about overseas driver crashes, putting herself at odds with Prime Minister John Key who is on record as saying it’s not a big issue, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“I’m not surprised Jacqui Dean has spoken out, given the Prime Minister’s untenable statement.

Housing NZ left in the dark

February 11, 2015

Housing NZ has been left in the dark by the Government’s state house sell-off plans and does not know the most basic things about its future stock levels says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. 

Mr Twyford says Housing NZ CEO Glen Sowry was unable to answer basic questions at a financial review hearing at Parliament today.

Bennett and Key poles apart on housing

February 04, 2015

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.

John Key’s secret foreign buyers register

December 09, 2014

John Key has been secretly planning a register for foreign buyers without telling New Zealanders, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“Last week Andrew Little called on John Key to adopt the Australian policy on foreign buyers.

State house sell off will make transience worse

December 09, 2014

The National Government’s plans to sell off state housing will increase the rate of transience among the poorest families, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

The Growing Up in New Zealand study released today reveals families with children under two move house much more than previously thought, and more often than families in other countries.

Govt refusal causes three year delay to rail link

December 05, 2014

A delay to the City Rail Link caused by the Government’s refusal to commit its share of funding before 2020 will set back the city’s growth and prosperity, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford.

Auckland Council is considering amending its draft ten year budget, pushing the start on building the CRL three years out, which means work will start 2018-19 and not be complete until 2023.

Government must look at tourist crashes

December 02, 2014

The Government needs to stop brushing aside the serious issue of road crashes involving tourists and look seriously at measures to reduce these unnecessary deaths, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“Today yet another tourist was involved in a fatal crash after arriving on an overseas flight.

Fourth housing report confirms failure

November 26, 2014

The Fourth Auckland Housing Accord monitoring report shows the Accord has failed to make a dent in the city's housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

"The report says consents for only 354 dwellings were approved in the special housing areas during the first year of the accord, showing it had little impact on Auckland consent rates. As Auckland Council has confirmed in the media this has only resulted in 5 houses actually being built and only 18 expected by the end of the year.

National caught out on state house porkies

November 19, 2014

Housing NZ’s annual report out today directly contradicts the Government’s claim that one-third of its houses are in the wrong place and are the wrong size, said Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“The annual report states 96 per cent of state houses are in the right places to meet demand, and 89 per cent have the right number of bedrooms.

Brownlee must ask CAA to release the report

November 18, 2014

Gerry Brownlee must ask the Civil Aviation Authority to release the report that finds he broke the law in breaching airport security, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“It is inexcusable for any minister, let alone the then-Transport Minister, to flout airport security rules in the way Gerry Brownlee did. By giving him the maximum fine the CAA has rejected Mr Brownlee’s initial attempt to play down the seriousness of his offence.

National’s highways far less efficient

November 12, 2014

National’s new state highways have a far lower cost-benefit ratio than motorways built under the last Labour Government, making a mockery of the Government’s bluster that its road building will boost the economy, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“New information released in the Treasury’s Briefing to the Incoming Minister shows that highways consented by National had extremely poor cost benefit ratios compared to those under Labour.

Governor points finger at National on supply

November 12, 2014

The Reserve Bank Governor has admitted he had to keep loan to value mortgage restrictions in place because the Government’s attempts to increase housing has fallen ‘a long way short’, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“The thousands of first home buyers who are shut out of the housing market may have hoped for a lifeline from the Governor by easing LVR restrictions today. They will be bitterly disappointed.

National’s housing failure keeps LVRs in place

November 12, 2014

The Reserve Bank’s decision to leave loan-to-value ratio mortgage restrictions in place is further confirmation of National’s housing policy fiasco, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“The Reserve Bank would have lifted LVRs if they had seen any increase in the supply of housing in Auckland.

Air NZ cuts economic lifelines to neglected regions

November 11, 2014

Air New Zealand’s plans to cut its Eagle Air regional services to already struggling regions is a hammer blow to Westport, Whakatane and Kaitaia, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“The regions of New Zealand are being abandoned by this Government at a time when falling dairy prices mean they need help the most. Now Air New Zealand is twisting the knife. Regional air routes are economic lifelines to these places.

LVRs a failed experiment from Bill English

November 10, 2014

Loan to value mortgage restrictions are a failed experiment from Bill English to tame Auckland house prices, that have caused collateral damage to first home buyers and other regions, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“The possible end of LVR mortgage restrictions is good news for first home buyers struggling to get into the market and for those in regions where house prices aren’t spiralling out of control like Auckland or Christchurch.

The Block NZ doing a better job than Nick Smith

November 06, 2014

Nick Smith should consider calling in producers of The Block NZ with participants in the TV series completing more houses in two seasons than the Government’s failed Special Housing Area policy, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

The Block NZ is not only a huge TV success; it is a more successful than the National Government at completing and selling homes.

Housing market creates ‘them and us’ divide

November 05, 2014

The massive difference in housing markets between the major cities and the regions is creating a ‘them and us’ divide that hurts the country, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“The stark contrast between the fortunes of cities and regions is highlighted by the housing market. In Auckland and Christchurch it is booming with price increases of almost 40 per cent in Auckland City in seven years.

Key’s housing plan will make crisis worse

November 04, 2014

John Key's plan to sell off state houses and instead give subsidies to landlords is economically stupid and will make the housing crisis worse, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“There are three very good reasons why John Key’s plan is a terrible idea.

Bennett parks numbers on social housing

October 30, 2014

Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett admitted today that well over 1000 families have been subsidised through the accommodation supplement to stay in the Ranui campground, somewhere she has previously described as not the right place for children to be growing up in.

“For six years while Ms Bennett was both the local MP and the Minister of Social Development, government officials were routinely referring homeless people to live in the camping ground,” Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

Traffic Jam Tax must be given the red light

October 29, 2014

Auckland Council’s proposed Traffic Jam Tax could cost some households thousands of dollars a year just to use roads they had already paid for with their taxes and must be rejected, says Labour’s transport and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“Aucklanders already pay for roads twice. First through road taxes. Second through spending hours sitting in traffic. Now we are supposed to pay hundreds of dollars more a year just to use the motorway? No way.

Labour backs urban development plans

October 18, 2014

Auckland Council’s plan to set up an urban development agency is to be applauded and central government should get behind it to make it a success, Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says.
Auckland Council CEO Stephen Town has indicated plans are afoot to merge Auckland Council Properties Limited and Waterfront Auckland to form a new Council Controlled Organisation (CCO) to lead urban renewal projects.

It shouldn’t take the Army to house the homeless

October 07, 2014

National’s move to speed up its state house sell-off shows it is bankrupt of new ideas, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“National has been in office for six years, yet the housing crisis has got worse every month and every year since. We now have families living in cars and garages and nowhere for the social agencies to accommodate them.

We need more houses, not Ministers

October 06, 2014

The Government’s decision to have three housing Ministers will create a dog’s breakfast of the portfolio and doesn’t bode well for fixing the country’s housing crisis, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“New Zealanders need more houses, not more Ministers.

Labour will make renting a better option

September 03, 2014

Labour will provide greater security of tenure for renters, and build more state and social housing, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“Labour believes every kid deserves a decent start in life. That means a warm, dry and secure home. But too often families who cannot afford to own their home, have to put up with damp, cold houses and having to move all the time.

National gets fast and loose with the facts

August 26, 2014

In their desperation to make it look as though they are doing something about the housing crisis, National is playing fast and loose with the facts, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

Home buyer subsidy discredited in Oz

August 25, 2014

Treasury advised against National’s policy of ramping up home buyer subsidies after it was discredited in Australia because it pushed house prices even higher, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“Documents released under the OIA (attached) show Treasury advised the Government that ‘Experience with homeownership grants in Australia suggests that such programmes tend to push prices up in a supply constrained environment by supporting greater demand, rather than improving affordability. There is a risk that by significantly expanding eligibility for the KiwiSaver Deposit Subsidy and Welcome Home Loan schemes, the Government will end up undermining affordability for first-home buyers’.

Labour’s 21st century transport pledge

August 24, 2014

The next Labour-led Government will create a 21st century transport system for New Zealand that promotes the most efficient and sustainable combination of transport options, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“Labour will rebalance the Government's transport spending away from the low-value projects that the Government has chosen for political reasons towards investments that will best improve growth, reduce congestion, and move our transport system on to a more sustainable footing.

Housing under National: the facts

August 23, 2014

1.       House prices in Auckland

  • Council valuations indicate Auckland house prices have gone up by one-third over the last three years. (Auckland Council)
  • The average Auckland house price has gone up by nearly $225,000 since 2008, up over $75,000 in the past 12 months. (QV)
  • It now takes 50 years to pay off the average house in Auckland. (NZIER)

Phil Twyford Speech to NZCID

August 19, 2014

"Labour's plan to build more and build better: how new approaches to housing, transport and urban development will deliver cities that work"

Phil Twyford, Labour Party spokesperson on housing, transport, Auckland issues, and cities.


Nats wimp out on cleaning up boarding houses

August 06, 2014

National MPs on Parliament’s Social Services Select Committee have wimped out on cleaning up slum boarding houses, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

The committee has just reported back to Parliament the results of an inquiry into whether current regulations are up to the job of ensuring decent conditions in boarding houses.

Nick Smith hides shameful vacant house numbers

July 31, 2014

Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford has lodged an official complaint against Housing Minister Nick Smith with Parliament’s Speaker for refusing to release data on the number of vacant state houses around the country.

“Nick Smith is clearly embarrassed by the high number of Housing NZ properties lying empty and boarded up. The total was 2,734 back in May when the Minister last released the numbers,” says Phil Twyford.

Auckland consents down second month in a row

July 30, 2014

National’s housing policy is in disarray with building consents in Auckland falling two months in a row, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. 

“Statistics New Zealand’s latest building consent figures show consents in Auckland are down for the second month in a row with 553 in June which is down from 611 in May, and 697 in April.


Low build numbers and faulty repairs: what has Brownlee been doing?

July 28, 2014

Despite being a man in a hurry new figures show just 2160 new homes, thousands fewer than needed, have been built under Gerry Brownlee in the last two years, say Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford and EQC spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove.

“Information obtained from Christchurch City Council shows just 2160 Code Compliance Certificates were issued in the two years to June 2014, while CERA says Canterbury 25,000 are needed,” says Phil Twyford.

Puhoi-Warkworth decision doesn’t stack up

July 25, 2014

The Board of Inquiry decision on the Puhoi-Warkworth motorway gives the green light to a project that doesn’t stack up, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“Labour would spend $320 million immediately to fix the accident black spots, put in a bypass at Warkworth and ease the congestion pinch points.

Nats to announce 2nd crossing without rail

July 24, 2014

Labour Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says it has been leaked to him that John Key will rule out a rail option when announcing an accelerated timeframe for Auckland’s $5 billion second harbour crossing next month.

“I understand the Government’s plan is for a roads-only option which would be a giant wasted opportunity to connect rail to the North Shore and link it up with the City Rail Link and the rest of the regional rail network,” says Mr Twyford.

Consents fall well short of targets

July 10, 2014

Auckland Council’s chief economist has published data showing Auckland is on track to build only half the number of houses the Council says the city needs to keep up with demand, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

QV figures show two-track housing market

July 08, 2014

The two-track housing market that has developed under National is underlined in QV’s latest report, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

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