Labour lets housing waitlist surge out of control

Despite promises to fix our housing shortage housing has become more unaffordable than ever under Labour, with the public housing wait list quadrupling over the last three years, National’s Housing spokesperson Nicola Willis says.

“Recently released figures reveal there are now 22,409 people waiting for social housing, with the average wait for a home more than 200 days. This is the sad result of Labour’s continued failure to get on top of our housing shortage.

“Every person waiting is in significant housing need. More than a third are families with children. They desperately need a home, and this Government clearly doesn’t have any solutions.

“While many of the social houses National planned in Government are now being completed, the Government hasn’t kept up the pace to deal with the surging demand. Instead, it has let the situation get completely out of control.

“Despite promises to fix our housing shortage housing has become more unaffordable than ever under Labour with more and more Kiwis struggling to find a home.

“It is clear leaving the Government in charge of building public housing is not going to be enough. The private sector must be freed up to build more houses too.

“National wants to see a surge in private sector housing development. We need to see urgent action from the Government to make it easier for developers to build more houses, and that means removing the regulatory barriers currently stopping them.

“This Government needs to stop passing the buck. It’s time for action.”

In addition to repealing and replacing the Resource Management Act, other potential solutions National has proposed that may help in the short term include:

  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 $9.8 billion in taxpayer funding currently 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.

“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.