New Zealand Labour Party

Where’s the leadership? English refuses public housing debate

Bill English has failed another test of leadership by refusing to debate the housing crisis in Mt Albert, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.

When he entered Parliament, Bill English said “What I do bring to this job is a willingness to get into the argument, rather than avoid it”. Today in Parliament, he refused Andrew Little’s offer of a public debate in Mt Albert on housing ahead of the by-election.

“There is a housing crisis. Labour is prepared to face up to it and build the houses we need. Bill English is ducking, dodging, and denying.

“Why is Bill English afraid to front up? Is he afraid to admit that his government has failed to lead on the housing crisis?

“Bill English says that National has it all under control, that there is no crisis. Yet, he won’t front up and explain his record to the public in a debate.

“Just today, we’ve seen the Salvation Army confirm the housing shortage is growing, Housing New Zealand admits it is building only a fraction of the promised state houses, and Trade Me announce rents have hit a record high.

“The invitation is still open, Bill. When you’re prepared to lead, I’m ready to debate the solutions to the housing crisis,” says Andrew Little.