Labour fudging state house numbers

The Labour Government’s claim to have delivered 8000 new state houses has been revealed as a pumped-up figure that vastly exaggerates the number of houses it has actually built, National’s Housing spokesperson Nicola Willis says.

“The Housing Minister, along with her colleagues, has repeatedly claimed the Government has delivered more than 7600 new state homes, towards its target of 18,000 additional homes.

“But answers to Written Parliamentary Questions reveal that fewer than half of the public houses Ministers lay claim to are newly built homes. Instead, the bulk are existing homes that have been bought or leased from the private market to be used as state housing.

“These figures prove the Government has been pumping-up its figures by buying and leasing thousands of homes in direct competition with first-home buyers and renters, potentially exacerbating the underlying housing shortage. This is simply robbing Peter to pay Paul.

“Meanwhile, the public housing wait list has exploded to a record high as more and more New Zealanders are squeezed out of the private rental market.

“Written questions reveal that the Government’s housing arm, Kāinga Ora, has failed to reach its targets for delivering newly built state homes in each of the past two years. This failure has had colossal consequences for our most vulnerable citizens and their families.

“Taxpayers are now forking out around $1 million a day for motel stays. There are more than 4000 children being raised in motel rooms. The Ministry of Housing has become the Ministry for Motels.

“Just this month Kāinga Ora paid $8.1 million for a motel in Rotorua that had a CV of just $1.75 million. It should be building houses – at scale and at pace.

“Labour should be honest, it’s only 20 per cent of the way to meeting its target of 18,000 additional new state homes by 2024. It just can’t deliver the houses New Zealand desperately needs.

“New Zealand was promised 16,000 KiwiBuild homes by now, but has been delivered less than 10 per cent of that. Let’s hope the state house promise doesn’t go the same way.”

You can find links to Written Parliamentary Questions (WPQs) here and here.