New Zealand Labour Party

John Key out of touch on why families renting

The Prime Minister is totally out of touch if he truly believes plummeting homeownership rates are because people are having children later in life, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.

“John Key today blamed societal changes for national homeownership rates being at their lowest level in 65 years.

“This is just more blame shifting from a Government that wilfully ignored the housing crisis as Auckland house prices spiralled out of control. First it was the fault of resource management laws, then it was Auckland Council’s fault and now it is the families themselves.

“Perhaps the fact that it now takes 50 years to pay off the average Auckland house is deterring more people from buying a house than decisions to have children a few years later.

“On top of that Auckland families are competing with investors who – according to the Reserve Bank – are snaffling 46 per cent of the houses for sale in the city.

“Starting families later is not the cause of falling homeownership; it’s the other way around. Young couples are living with their parents and putting off having kids because they cannot afford to buy a home of their own.

“John Key’s comments follow ridiculous statements by Housing Minister last week that Maori and Pasifika homeownership rates – which have nosedived by 20 and 34 per cent respectively since 1986 – are because of lower educational achievement. This totally ignores the leaps and bounds in Maori and Pasifika educational outcomes in the past two-and-a-half decades.

“The Prime Minister needs to stop blaming everyone but his Government for the housing crisis.

“John Key needs to admit there is a housing crisis, embark on a massive state-backed affordable house building programme and clamp down on offshore speculators who are driving prices out of the reach of middle New Zealand,” Andrew Little says.