Housing, Infrastructure & World Class Cities

 

Our fourth priority is: housing, infrastructure and world-class cities.

The massive recent house price increases are further locking our children out from ever buying a home. Rents are up $100 per week since Labour came into office – a 25 percent increase in just three years.

This means people are struggling to keep up with the other necessities of life – food, power and doctors’ visits. The housing emergency is driving up inequality, and it is hitting young New Zealanders the hardest. We are already seeing a major increase in the working poor here in New Zealand, where people put in the hard yards but still can’t get ahead. These house price increases just make it worse.

For much of the past three years we had the job of holding Phil Twyford and Labour to account for their KiwiBuild promises. After initially promising 100,000 homes over 10 years, they only built about 700 homes in their first term. They never understood just how hard it is to build a house.

Tinkering with who can buy a house, giving grants to some buyers, and putting barriers up for others – as Labour has done – is again about the symptoms, not the cause.

It is too hard to build a house in New Zealand, it’s as simple as that. We need to make it drastically easier. This isn’t impossible. Hundreds of other cities around the world have affordable housing. The cost of the average house in Dallas, Chicago, Montreal and Manchester is less than half the average cost of a house in Auckland. Less than half.

The one thing these cities all have in common is they make it easy to build houses. When we have a resource consent process that makes it almost impossible to build a house, it is no surprise. It is an issue we can solve, and we must solve.

We need to reform our planning and RMA processes with one goal: freeing up land and getting more houses built. And if councils won’t do it, we will do it for them.

We also need to address infrastructure. It isn’t enough to get more houses built if we still spend half our lives sitting in traffic.

For a country to be world-leading, it needs to have world leading cities. Affordable housing and strong transport infrastructure is a key plank of that.

Given their track record on KiwiBuild, I just don’t trust the Government to deliver quick changes to get more houses built.

So, we are calling on the Government to introduce urgent temporary legislation to make it easier to build a house, until the permanent RMA reforms are completed.

The legislation would give Government powers to rezone land and avoid frustrating consenting delays. It was done by National following the Canterbury earthquakes. It’s now urgent for the rest of the country.