Housing wait list at record highs under Labour

Our public housing system is bursting at the seams with record high numbers of New Zealanders waiting for a state house, National’s Housing spokesperson Nicola Willis says.

Figures released today show there are now 22,521 people waiting for public housing, roughly four times as many as when National left office. On average, people will wait 177 days to be housed.

These are Kiwis classified as ‘at risk’ with a ‘severe and persistent housing need that must be addressed immediately’. Roughly half of those waiting for a home are families with children, Ms Willis says.

“While it’s good to see many of the public houses National planned in Government are now being built, it’s not enough to keep up with the surging demand. In the past year the wait list grew by 7652, while Kāinga Ora built just 1150 houses.

“The state house waiting list is exploding because more and more Kiwis are being priced out of the private market as rents surge and construction fails to keep up with demand.

“National proposed constructive solutions to address the root causes of New Zealand’s housing emergency and unlock a surge in new house building.

“We have offered to work with the Government on temporary emergency measures like those used after the Canterbury earthquake to make more space available for development. We can’t afford to wait until 2024 for RMA reform to take effect.”

National has also asked the Government explore these immediate actions:

  1. Strengthen the National Policy Statement on Urban Development: The Government should bring this urgent rezoning of land by local authorities forward, and increase the competitiveness margin, to enable intensification and growth.
  2. Remove the Auckland Urban Boundary: This arbitrary line has been found to add $50,000 or more to the average cost of houses in Auckland. The Government committed to removing it in 2017 but progress has stalled.

  3. Make Kāinga Ora capital available to community housing providers: Proven social housing providers have land and consents for new housing projects ready to go. The Government could make these projects happen immediately by releasing some of the taxpayer funding ring-fenced for future social housing.

  4. Establish a Housing Infrastructure Fund: This would help local government finance the pipes and roads required to accelerate rezoning of land for Greenfields developments.

  5. Implement new finance models: The Government should work with industry to develop finance models that leverage Accommodation Supplement and Income-Related Rent entitlements to drive new housing development.

“National will continue to put forward constructive ideas to address this country’s housing shortage,” Ms Willis says.