New Zealand Labour Party

HomeStart review an admission of failure

Nick Smith has admitted he’s looking at changes to the HomeStart subsidy because fast rising house prices are making so many first home buyers ineligible, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“The Building and Housing Minister has had to take the policy back to the lab less than two years after it was announced because skyrocketing house prices have rendered it ineffective.

“This is an admission of defeat by Nick Smith. His much-hyped HomeStart policy is under-performing. It can’t keep up with a housing market which is so over-heated because of the failure of the Government’s housing policy.

“The problem is worst in Auckland where first home buyers are struggling more and more to find a house that fits within the HomeStart thresholds.

“The Budget confirmed that each year the scheme has been under-funded by $10 million, with about 2000 grants per year fewer than National promised at the last election.

“Official figures show only 9 per cent of the grants have been going to Auckland where housing is most unaffordable.

“This policy has been another Nick Smith dud. He over promises and under delivers.

“There are so many desperate families who just want to get into a home of their own. They need the Government to actually build houses, crack down on speculators, and free up the planning rules so the city can grow up and out,” Phil Twyford says.