Housing Minister Phil Twyford’s knee-jerk and uninformed decision to reform the Residential Tenancy Act will cause renters to pay even more and won’t solve any problems, National’s Housing spokesperson Judith Collins says.
“If Mr Twyford thinks Government price controls will stop tenants paying more for rent, he’s being naive.
“By limiting rent increases to once a year, landlords will be forced to raise rents higher and sooner, meaning tenants will actually be paying the same or more in the long run.
“If a landlord now wants to sell their property, they will have to wait 90 days, meaning settlements of sales will be extended by double.
“But if the tenant leaves the property before the 90 days is up, the landlord will end up with an empty house waiting for a buyer.
“It is not clear whether the bond can be raised at the same time as the single rent increase – so even more costs could be put on the tenant.
“On top of this the Government has a Bill currently at Select Committee that prohibits the charging of letting fees on rental properties.
“This has been criticised by the real estate industry and various stakeholders because letting fees are required for agents to work on behalf of the property owner.
“It is likely the cost of the letting fee will be passed onto the tenant in the form of higher rents – a double whammy of rent increases.
“This Government has shown how its poor policies end up costing Kiwi families – who have seen over $100 added to their weekly bills – and they’re going to wear the burden of this as well.
“It is important to strike a good balance between landlords and tenants but so far Mr Twyford’s decisions seem to result in both parties losing out.
“As usual Mr Twyford’s announcement has been made in a vacuum away from reality – he needs to start thinking about the impacts of his vague housing policies and stop loading the costs onto New Zealand families.”
Housing New Zealand’s decision to only lease houses built since 2001 will be a disappointment for many tenants, National’s Housing spokesperson Judith Collins says.
“Turning down good homes on the basis they were built prior to 2000 is a short sighted decision because we all know the best houses are not necessarily the new houses.
“What about houses that were built a few decades or even a century ago?
“New Zealand has a good variety of housing stock like the villas and bungalows built in the early 1900s that are still being well maintained today.
“It is a shame these houses are going to be ignored just because of when they were built.
“The early 2000s was when many leaky homes were built. This means it will cost more for Housing New Zealand to either fix up the leaky homes or tenants will be leased an unfit home to live in.
“In the meantime the waiting list for a house under this Government is the highest it’s ever been.
“From the many broken promises around housing already, we know Housing Minister Phil Twyford is not good on detail and it seems like he has missed the mark on this one as well.
“He needs to rethink this dopey policy, it’s not always about the age of the house, it’s about the quality of the house.”
The Government is putting New Zealand’s housing market at risk through its KiwiBuild programme, National’s Housing spokesperson Judith Collins says.
The REINZ report released today shows a decline in the national median house price since last month, and the Reserve Bank Governor has indicated prices could fall.
“The housing market fluctuates all the time and the Government’s KiwiBuild programme will have to adjust if the housing market falls further.
Housing Minister Phil Twyford’s own Cabinet paper states the Crown will take on any risk if the housing market fluctuates up or down.
This is in addition to Kiwibank’s announcement they would accept 10 per cent deposits from first home buyers.
“Accepting low deposits puts young families buying their first home through KiwiBuild at risk.
“There will be no room to move if interest rates rise or if there is a change in property values.
“If the housing market falls, the 10 per cent deposit KiwiBuild buyers will have invested will be wiped out.
“Mr Twyford shows he still hasn’t thought about the risks of banks accepting low deposits by saying those are decisions made between the prospective buyer and the bank.
“If anything goes south, buyers will be left on their own.
“Buying a house is not a one-off, done and dusted deal. First home buyers often choose a 30 year mortgage repayment term, where in that time interest rates can fluctuate dramatically making it harder to re-negotiate their fixed home loan rates.
“KiwiBuild is still lacking in detail on the massive risk the Government is putting first home buyers, the banks, the Crown and New Zealand’s housing market in.”
Today’s announcement on the opening of pre-qualification for KiwiBuild houses has left New Zealanders with more questions than answers, National’s Housing spokesperson Judith Collins says.
“Housing Minister Phil Twyford had nine years to come up with a detailed KiwiBuild plan, yet he’s still dodging the important questions.
“How will Housing New Zealand require people to retain ownership for three years?
“How is KiwiBuild going to adjust if the housing market continues to decline?
“And the big question, when is KiwiBuild going to have more than a limited number of houses ready for sale?
“Mr Twyford has also said some of the homes won’t have their code of compliance due to inspection time-frames and other factors.
“What are these other factors? Not having a code of compliance will bump up insurance costs, making purchasing the house a lot less attractive.
“These questions are on top of Kiwibank’s announcement today they will be accepting first home buyers with just a 10 per cent deposit.
“It is possible for any bank to accept a 10 per cent deposit, however, this means young families with a 10 per cent deposit who are completely new to buying a home will be bombarded with extra costs on top of higher interest rates, such as Kiwibank’s low equity fees, and insurance costs.
“Mr Twyford continues to show he has no idea how KiwiBuild will work. He needs to front up with answers instead of pushing murky details.”
The KiwiBuild mess continues to grow with a major construction company building KiwiBuild houses going into receivership this week, putting the Crown further at risk, National’s Housing Spokesperson Judith Collins says.
“Five weeks ago, Housing Minister Phil Twyford announced that new state, market and KiwiBuild homes were to be built on the Northcote Development in Auckland.
“But yesterday building company Ebert Construction, which was due to commence work on the Northcote Development, went into receivership raising questions about what happens next.
“This is not the only construction company to go under this year and it probably won’t be the last. This leaves private and government-backed housing developments vulnerable and raises real questions about how robust the KiwiBuild due diligence process is and how vulnerable taxpayers are to risks and cost blowouts associated with failed developments.
“While Mr Twyford has been busy reannouncing housing developments and rebranding private builds as KiwiBuild homes to try and meet his targets he’s neglected to get his head around crucial details including official advice that he’s exposing taxpayers to real risks.
“Mr Twyford’s own Cabinet paper states the Crown has to take on some risk for the KiwiBuild programme but last week Mr Twyford claimed it doesn’t and that all those risks will be borne by the developers. Which is true? Given Mr Twyford’s track record of getting things wrong I’m going with his officials.
“If the Crown is using taxpayer money to share the risk with KiwiBuild developers and the developer goes broke, who will ensure sub-contractors and workers are paid?
“I think it’s fair enough to say we won’t be seeing many KiwiBuild houses ready for young families to move in any time soon. Mr Twyford had nine years to come up with a plan and it looks like he still hasn’t done his homework.”
The Housing Minister confirmed today that he is happy to put hardworking taxpayers’ money at risk for his KiwiBuild project, National’s Housing spokesperson Judith Collins says.
“Mr Twyford’s Cabinet paper states that his ‘KiwiBuild: Buying off the plans’ initiative involves the Crown taking risks if the housing market price fluctuates, regardless if it goes up or down,” Ms Collins says.
“From what we can see, the Crown could become an unsecured creditor in failed developments. This means, all the houses he has announced with the KiwiBuild label which have been subsidised by the taxpayer could be at risk.
“It is also confusing as to where the risk will lie if the KiwiBuild houses are not completed or if the developer goes bust during the build process. We can only assume that the Crown will have to foot the bill, adding more costs to their $2 billion KiwiBuild fund.
“Mr Twyford is totally screwing with the housing market by subsidising homes that were already being built by the private sector and labelling them as KiwiBuild.
“Under National, New Zealand was on track to build nearly 200,000 houses over the next six years and more houses were being built faster. The McLennan Development and Northcote Development have both been underway since 2016 and are delivering hundreds of houses.
“Labour had many years in opposition to come up with a housing policy to implement. All we have seen so far is a re-badging of National’s housing announcements, risking taxpayer money and broken promises for Mr Twyford’s KiwiFail project.”
Not only is KiwiBuild no longer ‘Kiwi’, but it appears the ‘Build’ isn’t really happening either with Housing Minister Phil Twyford simply putting KiwiBuild stamps on houses that were built under the previous Government, National’s Housing spokesperson Judith Collins says.
“Mr Twyford’s announcement today that 400 affordable homes will be built in Northcote is nothing more than a rebranding exercise and won’t add to the supply of houses in Auckland.
“These houses had already been announced by National in 2016, when we said that we would redevelop 300 existing Housing New Zealand properties into 1200 new homes in Northcote.
“Mr Twyford has recently come to the realisation, albeit very late, that his much-hyped KiwiBuild is never going to happen and was only ever a pipedream.
“That’s why he’s not only hijacked National’s Northcote housing announcement, but he’ll also be buying houses off developers that would have been built anyway and using foreign-built flat-packs as part of ‘KiwiBuild’.
“It is also not the first time Mr Twyford has put his KiwiBuild stamps on houses that were already in the pipeline under National – the McLennan Development has been underway since 2016 with hundreds of houses built and being lived in, or under construction.
“Mr Twyford always said that his KiwiBuild houses would be over and above what was already underway but all we have seen so far is broken promises, murky details and rebranding of National’s excellent plans to deliver affordable housing.”
Labour’s reprehensible demonisation of foreigners prior to the election has been laid bare by confirmation today that its promise to slash migration was nothing but a cynical attempt to win votes from NZ First, National’s Judith Collins and Michael Woodhouse say.
“Prior to the election Labour cynically blamed foreigners for rising house prices, including through its infamous ‘Chinese-sounding surnames’ campaign, and it threatened to slash the number of migrants by up to 30,000 a year,” Mr Woodhouse says.
“All along employers and the National Party told them they were wrong and that we needed the skills and capital those migrants bring.
“Today Labour has admitted they were wrong when they said we needed to ‘take a breather’ and while we welcome the belated realisation, the fact is the changes announced today are nothing more than a branding exercise.
“Construction sector occupations were already on the skills shortage lists meaning it was already easier for construction workers to come here because National knew they were important all along.”
“The announcement comes after Housing Minister Phil Twyford yesterday told Parliament there were no plans to bring foreign tradespeople into New Zealand to work on KiwiBuild houses,” Ms Collins says.
“This indicates either an unwillingness to tell the truth or that Mr Twyford didn’t know his own policy or what his colleagues were doing.
“KiwiBuild has staggered from failure to failure and Mr Twyford has continued to show he has no idea what he’s doing.
“In the last few days he’s confirmed some KiwiBuild-backed apartments might be sold to foreigners, that they might be built by foreign flat-pack companies, that he’s been meeting with Chinese banks to fund them and now he says they’re going to be built by foreigners.
“This is a shameless climbdown and there’s nothing Kiwi left in KiwiBuild.”
New Zealanders will be surprised to hear the Government could be paying hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to overseas companies to manufacture pre-fabricated kit-set houses, National’s spokesperson for Housing and Urban Development Judith Collins says.
“In the nine months Labour has been in Government, the only thing that has been consistent from the Housing Minister Phil Twyford is backtracking, broken promises and repeated pleas to the private sector to bail him out.
“In his latest cry for help Mr Twyford now wants to hear from businesses how to set up flat-pack manufacturers in New Zealand in the hope they might help create a new pre-fabricated housing industry in New Zealand.
“What’s more, in spite of new laws aimed at restricting foreign investment, he’s ‘very happy’ to consider paying foreign-owned companies to do it.
“His many meetings with intermediaries of China Construction Bank and China Development Bank this year, also indicate he is proactively chasing overseas investment in KiwiBuild.
“This from the man who has previously blamed people with Chinese sounding names for rising house prices.
“He is hoping at least half of the 100,000 KiwiBuild homes will be built by these factories. Currently, only a few hundred pre-fab houses are being built per year in New Zealand.
“While National supports foreign investment which helps our economy grow and helps fund infrastructure like housing developments, this Government promised to get rid of it. Now Mr Twyford admits he’s relying on it.
“This Government will ultimately end up exporting taxpayer money in return for overseas investment in building KiwiBuild flat pack homes. Not necessarily the dream Kiwi home Labour was promising to deliver before the election.
“If now the funding will come from overseas, the flat packs will come from overseas and the workers will come from overseas, what part of KiwiBuild is Kiwi?”
Housing Minister Phil Twyford has finally realised he won’t be able to deliver on his promise to build 100,000 houses and his best option is to copy National’s plan – one he has previously criticised, National’s Housing spokesperson Judith Collins says.
“Despite spending years in Opposition bagging National’s housing plan, Mr Twyford will now be copying it – a concession that National had the right plan all along.
“It appears he is simply picking up National’s Auckland Housing Programme, which involves Housing New Zealand working with businesses to increase housing supply through intensification on state-owned land, and running with it.
“This revelation follows Mr Twyford’s admission that he will be putting KiwiBuild stamps on pre-fabricated homes built by the private sector.
“And that admission came after Mr Twyford revealed he’d be buying houses off developers, which would have been built anyway, and stamping a KiwiBuild label on those too.
“Mr Twyford spent years criticising everything National achieved in housing and claimed he would do more and build 100,000 houses for New Zealanders. Yet now it appears he’s realised what everyone else has known all along – KiwiBuild was never going to happen.
“Mr Twyford has finally conceded that National’s plan was better and actually achievable. But whether he is capable of successfully executing those plans remains in serious doubt.”