National’s reckless housing policy will take New Zealand backwards

National’s promises on housing will take New Zealand back to the 1990s, says Labour Housing Spokesperson Megan Woods.

“National commitments to sell off state houses, remove restrictions on property speculation, and roll back protections for tenants show what’s at stake this election,” Megan Woods said.

“Labour has a comprehensive housing plan and work well underway to tackle the housing crisis in New Zealand, including the largest build programme in more than a generation, a plan to tackle homelessness, and making life better for renters. All that is at risk if National is re-elected.

“National says they will take more than $1 billion away from state house building at a time when more state houses are crucially needed. National hasn’t provided details on how this funding diversion would work, but it’s inevitable that it will drastically reduce Kainga Ora’s ability to roll-out its own large build programme and come at significant additional cost to the taxpayer.

“National’s solution to the social housing waiting list appears to be restoring public housing tenancy reviews that resulted in people on pensions, those with children or those who have disabilities, being thrown out of their homes.

“The only real winners from National’s announcement today appear to be property speculators, with a commitment from National to spend $480 million rolling back the bright line test and ring-fencing of rental losses.

“Opening the floodgates to speculators right now will put more pressure on house prices and push home ownership further out of reach for many New Zealanders.

“First home buyers will find no support from National either, who repeatedly criticise Labour’s range of policies aimed at creating more opportunities for first home buyers, but offer nothing new. At the same time, National are saying they will wind back rental reforms that are helping to ensure renters can live in warm, dry houses with dignity.

“National’s proposals for building consenting drags us back to the multi-billion dollar leaky homes saga during the deregulatory wild west of the 1990s, and will leave homeowners on the hook. It’s reckless and irresponsible.

“Labour’s comprehensive housing plan announced last week includes 8,000 more state houses, a $350 million residential response fund, continued support for first home buyers, replacing the RMA, and better protection for renters, including by regulating property managers.

“Today’s announcement from National is the kind of half-baked promise voters can expect from a party that refused to acknowledge New Zealand had a housing crisis when they were in government,” Megan Woods said.