Our public housing system is bursting at the seams with record-high numbers of New Zealanders waiting for a home and thousands more getting emergency grants to live in motels, National’s Housing spokesperson Nicola Willis says.
Figures released today show there are now 21,415 people waiting for social housing, more than triple the number who were waiting in September 2017 and 1041 more than last month. On average, they will wait 241 days to be housed.
“These are people assessed as being in severe and persistent housing need. More than a third of them are families with children,” Ms Willis says.
“It’s a sad indictment on Labour’s failure to get on top of New Zealand’s housing woes.”
The figures show a record-high number of people receiving emergency housing grants to live in motels, with 9823 receiving these grants in the past three months alone at a cost of up to $922,000 a day.
“While it’s good to see many of the social houses National planned in Government are now being built, it’s not enough to keep up with surging demand,” Ms Willis says.
“Housing has become more unaffordable than ever under Labour, leaving more and more New Zealanders struggling to find a home.
“National wants to see a surge in private sector housing development. The Government must take urgent action to remove the legislative and regulatory barriers currently preventing that.”
In addition to repealing and replacing the Resource Management Act, National has proposed the Government explore these immediate actions to address this housing crisis:
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.
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.
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 $9.8 billion in taxpayer funding currently ring-fenced for future social housing.
Establish a Housing Infrastructure Fund: This would help local government finance the pipes and roads required to accelerate rezoning of land for Greenfields developments.
- 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.
“New Zealanders need initiatives that will actually make a difference. National will continue to put forward constructive ideas to address this country’s housing shortage,” Ms Willis says.
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