More housing responsibilities for Adams

Nick Smith has been probably the poorest public performer in Government over the last few years. He has had to try to deal with the difficult housing issues in Auckland, but has often done that badly.

Amy Adams has been one of the best performers. She has been gradually taken over housing responsibilities from Smith, who remains as Minister for the Environment and just one housing responsibility, Building and Construction.

In comparison Adams has a long portfolio list:

  • Minister of Justice
  • Minister for Courts
  • Minister for Social Housing
  • Minister Responsible for Housing New Zealand Corporation
  • Minister Responsible for Social Investment
  • Associate Minister of Finance

Two of those are directly involved with housing, but Social Investment and Finance have close relationships with Government housing.

Isaac Davidson at NZH: Adams rises, Smith falls in Cabinet reshuffle

Bill English’s reshuffle marks another rise in the ranks for National’s quiet star Amy Adams.

It is also a demotion for Nick Smith, who has now been distanced from any responsibility for the Government’s house-building programme.

English today denied any suggestion of a demotion for Smith, saying reporters “should not read into it”.

But his appointment of Adams appears to recognise that National is bracing for an election-year fight on housing and that Smith wasn’t fit to lead it.

Adams was already responsible for social housing, emergency housing, and Housing New Zealand. She has now been given control over the National-led Government’s plans to build tens of thousands of homes in the next decade.

There are tentative signs that Smith’s various initiatives to lift supply in Auckland are gaining some traction. And as English keeps repeating, the problem is not money but space – something which Government has limited control over.

But it is clear that Smith had lost the public argument on housing affordability.

Adams is a highly capable, confident minister, and perhaps most importantly a good communicator.

English is now trusting her with a huge workload. On top of her housing roles, she maintains the large justice portfolio, and is also responsible for the newly created social investment agency.

Adams has five months to do what Smith couldn’t and at least give the impression that National has the situation under control.

Housing is going to be one of the big issues this election after house prices have gone mad, especially in Auckland but increasingly elsewhere in the country.

People who already own homes may like the increase in value, but those who don’t will see home ownership as an increasingly difficult goal (if that’s what they want, some people are happy to rent).

Adams has little time to fix housing, but if she doesn’t appear as cranky as Smith she will at least give better appearances of competence.

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  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  25th April 2017

    I could never understand why Key gave Smith Housing unless he was resigned to having nothing happen with a lot of noise.

  2. Blazer

     /  25th April 2017

    National have only ever made token efforts to address housing issues.How they get away with their facile excuses is an indictment on their…… supporters.

    • David

       /  25th April 2017

      They solved it in Christchurch by over riding the council and freeing up large tracts of land, its an Auckland problem that spread and they should have gone over the top of Brown and forced his hand 5 years ago. Damn I agree almost with Blazer.

    • Corky

       /  25th April 2017

      And lack of credible opposition.

  3. David

     /  25th April 2017

    Amy Adams is quite the talent. If you look at the cabinet the real talent is the women members..Collins, Kaye, Tolley, Adams, Bennett.

    • Corky

       /  25th April 2017

      Give us Labours best counter?

    • Gezza

       /  25th April 2017

      To be fair, Simon Bridges is an excellent model for those talented young people of ours working in robotics.

  4. pdm

     /  25th April 2017

    A clear indication that Adams is being groomed for Leadership.


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