New Zealand Labour Party

Bill’s wishful thinking on housing crisis no solution

The Prime Minister’s declaration of victory over the housing crisis, made during last night’s TVNZ Leaders’ Debate, is more than a little premature, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“You have to give Bill English marks for optimism, but when he claimed that a recent moderation in price inflation nationally and slight falls in Auckland was because ‘speculation has been beaten by getting 10,000 houses a year built’ it was little more than wishful thinking, and actually just wrong.

“Serious commentators all believe the cooling in the market is just a pause, and largely a result of Reserve Bank lending restrictions, which the Bank says will only have temporary effect.

“The fundamental causes of high house prices remain unchanged: high immigration, low interest rates and a shortfall in Auckland of 40,000 houses that is getting bigger by the day.

“The latest numbers from CoreLogic show a net increase of only 6000 new homes in Auckland in the last year. Given the average occupancy rate of three people per household, a net increase of 6,000 dwellings will only house 18,000 people. Yet Auckland is growing by 45,000 to 50,000 people a year.

“This is what has given Auckland the million dollar house price average that has locked a generation out of home ownership. It is the same thing that has caused record overcrowding and homelessness.

“Bill English might wish the housing crisis was over but just saying it won’t make it so. He’s desperately out of touch.

“Labour’s KiwiBuild programme will provide 100,000 affordable starter homes for first time buyers and state houses for families in need. Labour will invest in training more Kiwis in the building trades and encouraging firms to take on apprentices so that we have the workforce we need to get those houses built,” says Phil Twyford.