Demand the debate on homelessness


We’re releasing the fifth issue in National’s Demand the Debate campaign, this time on homelessness. Kiwis deserve the debate on the Labour Government’s decision to spend $1 million a day on motels to house the homeless.

For two elections Labour campaigned on building houses, but instead they have been renting rooms for up to $2000 a week as its solution to homelessness.

The Government’s answer to our growing emergency housing problem is to purchase a motel in the heart of Rotorua for $8.1 million, almost double its estimated value. New Zealanders have the right to know how many motels the Government plans to purchase and where.

The taxpayer is again footing the bill for the Labour Government’s failed policies. The hundreds of millions of dollars that Labour will spend on motels to house the homeless this year could build more than 1000 safe and secure houses for these families.

Every week we’re contacted by thousands of Kiwis who feel they are being left out and want a say on the future of their country. Kiwis deserve to know why our towns and cities are changing because the Labour Government is failing to deliver on its housing promises.

Under Labour:

  • Promised 100,000 KiwiBuild homes - 18,000 should have been built by now, but less than 10% have been and the live tracker of house building was taken off the KiwiBuild website.

  • Fudging state house numbers – Labour’s claim of 8,000 new state houses shows actually less than half are new builds, the rest have been bought or leased from the private market in competition with first-home buyers and renters.

  • Top of the OECD for least affordable housing – worst for price-to-rent ratios, price-to-income ratios, real price growth, and nominal price growth.

  • Surprise tax changes - removed interest deductibility and extended the bright-line test, punishing landlords, and house prices still climbed by 8.9%.

  • Rents up – rents have increased $100 punishing students and those on low incomes. Along with other cost of living increases, poor policies and tax increases, the average Kiwi family is $9000 a year worse off under Labour.

  • Over 4,000 kids growing up in motels - average stay in emergency accommodation now more than three months. Motel owners are charging more than $440 per night for emergency housing hotel rooms that don’t have to meet quality standards.

  • Negligence on safety and security in emergency housing - high amounts of reported violence, intimidation, disorderly conduct, drug deals and gang involvements happening at emergency motels.

  • Most at risk Kiwis waiting longer – highest-risk housing applicant numbers have grown from three in Dec 2017 to 198 now. Used to be housed in less than a week, now the average wait time is 207 days for a house.

  • Record high levels of applicants on the state housing register - figures sit at 23,688 as at March 2021. More than four times as many as when National left office in 2017.

Reports of increased crime rates, unruly behaviour and increasing gang presence mean local residents and families housed in motels no longer feel safe.

Labour did not campaign on leaving 4000 children to be raised in motels nor did it tell Kiwis it would be purchasing motels in the hearts of our towns and cities. These children and their parents were promised more than a small room, they deserve a home.

Labour did not campaign on competing with first home buyers by purchasing existing housing stock to prop up their state house stock numbers.

National is proposing an alternative solution to the housing shortage that will urgently address the country’s land supply problem and help councils fund supporting infrastructure:

  • Judith Collins’ Emergency Response (Urgent Measures) Member’s Bill will put in place emergency powers similar to those used to speed up house building in Canterbury following the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.

  • The new law would require all urban councils to immediately zone more land for housing – enough for at least 30 years of expected growth.

  • Resource Management Act (RMA) appeals process would be limited to ensure these new district plans can be completed and put in place rapidly.

  • $50,000 infrastructure grant would be provided to all local authorities (urban and rural) for every new dwelling they consent above their five-year historical average.

  • Reverse Interest Deductibility & Bright-line test changes.

We’ll focus our efforts on policy that will actually move the dial on the supply of new land and housing, and not punish renters and the vast majority of landlords trying to do the right thing in a limited market.

National is the party of home ownership. We are committed to sensible solutions that will get more New Zealanders into their own home without hitting them with more taxes.

The Government’s parliamentary majority is not a mandate for Labour to promote its ideological wish list. New Zealanders deserve a say on their country’s future and together we must demand the debate.

Everyone deserves to be part of this conversation and we need to demand that public debate on this issue happens. We’ll have more to say on this in the coming days, weeks and months, so please sign up to keep up to date.