We’re taking action to tackle New Zealand’s housing crisis and help more Kiwis into homes. There is no single answer to the housing issues New Zealand faces, and it will take time to turn 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.
Enabling more homes, faster
We’re making it easier to build new houses. We’re launching the $3.8 billion Housing Acceleration Fund to speed up the pace and scale of house building, which will jumpstart housing developments by funding the vital infrastructure needed for new housing. 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. More than 100,000 people have taken up trades training so far.
Building more public houses
We’re building more new public and transitional housing than any government in decades. Already, we’ve added nearly 6,000 newly built homes, with 18,000 additional public and transitional homes already funded and on track to be delivered by 2024.
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 We modernised the outdated Residential Tenancies Act by banning no-cause terminations, limiting rent increases to once a year, and enabling tenants to make changes like quake-proofing.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 also 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.
Reforming the RMA
We’re delivering on our promise to repeal and replace the RMA to fix our planning laws. This reform will help us tackle our housing crisis by simplifying and accelerating planning processes, reducing the number of resource management plans from over 100 documents to approximately 14, and introducing standardised planning rules.
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 providing funding for 1,000 additional new houses for Māori, as well as home repairs for whānau most in need – and we’ve ring-fenced $350 million from the Housing Acceleration Fund to enable housing for tāngata whenua.
We’re making sure every New Zealander has a safe place to call home through our Homelessness Action Plan. Through Budget 2021, we’re investing in homelessness initiatives – such as Housing First, Rapid Rehousing, and Sustaining Tenancies – which focus on continued provision of wrap-around support services to help individuals and whānau move quickly into stable accommodation and access wider social supports.
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
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.