Expectations on housing not high

A hastily arranged visit to Hobsonville by Housing Minister Phil Heatley tomorrow is unlikely to deliver anything more than another U-turn, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Annette King says.

“The Government has been spooked into showing it is making some sort of effort in the area of affordable housing after its response to the Productivity Commission's inquiry into housing was universally panned.

“It’s ironic that it has chosen Hobsonville to release its latest bit of spin. Mr Heatley has made so many back flips over housing development in that suburb that he’s in danger of disappearing down an Alice in Wonderland-like rabbit hole.

“Three years ago he was talking about freeing up 100 sites for ‘Gateway’ houses. Less than 12 months later the ‘exact number’ and location of those sites was ‘still being finalised’, and by October 2010 he was quoting a figure of just 30.

“The project has since been scrapped, with just 17 homes built.  

“John Key’s input has been similarly all over the place. He initially described Labour’s plan to build 500 state houses and 500 affordable homes among high-end residential homes at Hobsonville as ‘economic vandalism’.

“He tempered that slightly a few years later, suggesting some affordable housing in Hobsonville might work, but not ‘state houses’, before finally deciding that perhaps the land could be developed by the private sector.

“This Government needs to wake up to the fact that housing is a huge issue for Kiwis. Affordable first homes, affordable rent and healthy, warm housing should be at the top of its to-do list.

“Given its history, however, I’m expecting tomorrow’s announcement to be just another snore,” Annette King said.