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Housing

We’re taking action to tackle New Zealand’s housing crisis and help more Kiwis into homes. There’s no single answer to the housing issues which were decades in the making, and it will take time to turn things around, but the policies we’re putting in place are already making a real difference.

Here are some of the ways Labour is making sure everyone has a warm, dry place to call home:

Paving the way to home ownership

We’re making changes to help more first home buyers into their own place. We’ve lifted the income and house price caps on First Home Loans and Grants, meaning more people can access this support. We banned offshore speculators from buying Kiwi homes, and we’re also removing interest deductibility that benefits local property speculators. These measures, along with the extension of the bright-line test to 10 years, will ease pressure on the market and help more first home buyers get into a property. Our Progressive Home Ownership scheme helps people who are struggling to pull together a deposit or pay a mortgage into their own home.

Warmer, healthier homes 

We’ve introduced new rules for rental properties to ensure everyone has a warm, dry place to live. Landlords will have to ensure their properties comply with heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture, and draught standards. Also, Warmer Kiwi Homes has delivered almost 80,000 insulation and heating installs in low-income homes since 2018, ensuring more low-income families have healthy homes and reduced power bills.

Enabling more homes, faster

We’re making it easier to build new houses. Our $3.8 billion Housing Acceleration Fund is jump-starting housing developments by funding necessary services, like roads and pipes to homes. To encourage more people to invest in new housing projects, we’ve excluded new builds from the changes to the bright-line test, to increase housing supply. We’re also making sure we have the skilled workforce we need to build more houses by making apprenticeships and targeted trades training free. Already, we’ve seen a 14% increase in the construction workforce over the past four years, thanks in part this programme.

Building more public houses

To ensure more New Zealanders have a place to call home, we’re building more new public and transitional housing than any Government in decades. Already, we’ve delivered more than 12,500 public and transitional homes, as part of our plan to deliver more than 18,000 extra places by 2024.

Backing renters

We’ve made renting fairer for Kiwi families. We modernised the outdated Residential Tenancies Act by banning no-cause terminations, limiting rent increases to once a year, and enabling tenants to make changes like quake-proofing. We got rid of unfair letting fees, which drove up costs for families. We’re also working to regulate the residential property management sector, to protect both renters and landlords.

Reforming the RMA

New Zealand’s housing shortage has been made worse in our biggest cities by limits on the number and types of houses that can be built. That’s why we’re delivering on our promise to reform the Resource Management Act to reduce red tape, improve housing supply, and better protect the environment.

Delivering for Māori

Tāngata whenua are more likely to face homelessness and less likely to own their own house. We are working to ensure more whānau have access to safe, healthy homes. We’re partnering with iwi to build houses and get whānau into homes, and our Progressive Home Ownership scheme includes a dedicated Māori pathway. We’re delivering approximately 1,000 new homes, repairs to 700 homes, 2,700 additional infrastructure enabled sites and an additional $30 million investment to support Māori housing sector capability through Whai Kāinga Whai Oranga and the Māori Infrastructure Fund. Together this represents the largest investment ever in Māori housing.

Tackling homelessness

We’re making sure every New Zealander has a safe place to call home. We’re redesigning the emergency housing system and make sure it is supporting New Zealanders in the manner they need. Also, through the Aotearoa New Zealand Homelessness Action Plan, we are supporting more than 10,000 people at risk of or who are experiencing homelessness over three years.

View more key achievements

If re-elected, we’ll continue to build on our progress with our five-point plan to support new housing during the economic uncertainty of COVID-19:

  • We’ll support construction through the Residential Development Response Fund, enabling builders and developers to apply for support to help them get on with the job
  • We’ll deliver 18,000 additional public and transitional houses by 2024
  • We’ll continue to support first home buyers with First Home Grants and Loans, progressive home ownership and KiwiBuild
  • We’ll work with the industry to improve productivity through the Construction Sector Accord
  • We’ll remove planning barriers to residential construction, including by replacing the RMA to reduce cost and complexity

We’ll also regulate property managers to protect landlords and tenants, and continue our progressive homeownership scheme.

Healthy homes, healthy children and healthy hearts are the focus of a new policy designed to drive down our rates of rheumatic fever. If re-elected, we will:

  • Expand the Healthy Homes initiative for housing basics like heaters, curtains, bedding and floor covering
  • Strengthen healthy home compliance and enforcement efforts by Tenancy Services
  • Introduce a national register to actively track and treat rheumatic fever patients

Find more detail on Labour's housing policies here, and extra information about our policy to drive down our rates of rheumatic fever here.

Labour’s plan

Labour is already rolling out our plan to make sure every New Zealander has a warm, dry, safe place to call home. That’s why we are:

  • Funding 8000 new public and transitional homes, which will provide a significant boost to the construction sector and wider economy and take the number of new public and transitional houses we’ve provided to around 17,000
  • Scrapping the need for consents for low-risk building work, such as sleep-outs, sheds and carports, saving homeowners around $18 million in consenting costs each year, unclogging the building consent process, and making minor home improvements quicker and more affordable
  • Helping to keep Kiwis warmer and healthier with our Warmer Kiwi Homes programme by funding improvements to around 9,000 additional low income households, on top of the more than 20,000 warmer homes we’ve already delivered. This will also help to protect people from respiratory disease and create jobs.

Labour will continue rolling out a Progressive Home Ownership scheme that will support lower income families struggling to pull together a deposit, or pay a mortgage, into home ownership.

Labour will continue to implement our Homelessness Action Plan to prevent and reduce homelessness. Our plan aims to prevent people from becoming homeless and reduce reliance on motels for emergency accommodation.

Labour will continue to partner with iwi and Māori housing providers to get more whānau into healthy and secure homes, and to create solutions to the housing crisis beyond COVID-19.