ACT on ‘Labour-lite’ housing policy

Yesterday the Government announced plans to build about 25,000 extra houses in Auckland over the next ten years – see National’s Auckland housing policy.

This looked a lot like a partial Labour ‘Kiwibuild’ policy. Despite this Labour MPs slammed it.

Andrew Little belittled the policy:

Breaking news – National admits there’s a housing crisis

National finally admits there’s a housing crisis, but today’s belated announcement is simply not a credible response to the problem it’s been in denial about for so long, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.

“National can’t now credibly claim to be tackling the housing crisis four months out from the election when, for nine years, they’ve ignored the plight of first home buyers and families in need.

“This Government has long rubbished the idea of building houses. Time and again it’s failed to deliver any significant increase in housing supply.

“National cannot be trusted to do anything meaningful for the thousands of first home buyers in Auckland who have been denied their shot at the Kiwi dream.

“Amy Adams has fudged the figures. How many of these houses will actually be affordable? What does ‘affordable’ mean? How will that give hope to first home buyers when speculators can buy these houses too?

“It’s just more smoke and mirrors from a Government that’s failed miserably. It’s a mish-mash of old and new housing programmes. Many of these houses have already been announced.

“Auckland currently has a shortfall of 40,000 houses and growing. This plan won’t address the shortfall, let alone build the extra houses needed to keep up with demand.

“This last minute announcement just won’t do enough. National has had its chance. It’s time for a fresh approach.

“Labour will build 50,000 houses in Auckland people can afford to buy and we’ll increase the supply of state houses; we’ll crack down on speculators; and we’ll invest in warm, dry homes.

“National hasn’t a shred of credibility left. The evidence keeps mounting:

• It promised a big increase in emergency housing beds in the last six months, and hasn’t delivered.
• It’s Special Housing Areas promised an extra 39,000 homes, fewer than 2,000 have been built.
• Housing New Zealand has failed meet its building targets and reduced the number of state houses by 2,500.

“This cynical announcement by National should be seen for what it is – an election year fudge to paper over the cracks of its failure in housing. It’s time for Labour’s plan,” says Andrew Little.

However it was ACT’s David Seymour who went into detail with his criticism.

National need to think bigger than Labour-lite

National needs to do more than just adopt tunnel-vision Labour policies, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“If the goal is to close the housing shortfall, this is a step in the right direction, but it won’t be enough. The proposal will add 25,000 homes when what we need is another 500,000.

“We can only achieve this by fixing the underlying problem: that regulations and infrastructure pressures prevent private developers from building homes.

“The Government will have to loosen up land use rules if it wants to get 34,000 homes built on a few scraps of Crown land. Why not just follow ACT’s plan to replace the Resource Management Act for the whole city, letting private developers do the building for us?

“The Government will also struggle to build houses at an affordable cost under current construction regulations. ACT has a policy for this: we’d replace construction red tape with an insurance requirement, letting developers cut costs in risk-free ways.

“The other problem the Government will face is pressure on infrastructure. Fortunately, ACT has a plan for this too. ACT will allow Councils to use half of the GST from construction projects to fund local infrastructure.

“The Government is right to say we need more homes. But if we want to see these homes built on anywhere near the scale required, we’ll need a stronger ACT to make the government enact substantial reform, instead of Labour-lite tinkering.”

National has failed in it’s attempt to substantially reform the RMA this term and even if they get the chance and try again next term that would talk some time, they would probably need the support of NZ First or Labour, and in the meantime Auckland’s (and New Zealand’s) housing shortage will get worse unless a lot more houses and flats are built.

7 Comments

  1. Corky

     /  May 17, 2017

    Talking of ‘Lite.’ When will David Seymour expunge socialism from ACT policies?

  2. “Why not just follow ACT’s plan to replace the Resource Management Act for the whole city, letting private developers do the building for us?”

    Let’s do this sort of ‘selective law avoidance’ thing in certain other parts of the country too!? Or … I know … with certain ‘communities of interest’ … like Maori … and perhaps Muslims?

    “One Law For All” … Yeah … RIGHT!

    Seymour – “we’d replace construction red tape with an insurance requirement, letting developers cut costs in risk-free ways.”

    The thin end of a ‘free-market-insurance-coverage’ wedge – actually already well-established in FIIRE – which results in things like America’s exemplary health system …

    “Fortunately, ACT has a plan for this too. ACT will allow Councils to use half of the GST from construction projects to fund local infrastructure.”

    More explanation please David? Is this supplementary to or in place of developer contributions? Isn’t this actually additional ‘federal’ money for infrastructure? Taxpayers money … “other peoples’ money”?

    Or is it a dangerous precedent of ‘targeted GST use’ which overturns ‘consolidated fund’ GST policy? A return, if you will, to the very “sales tax on SOME goods and services” that GST ostensibly replaced?

    Enlighten me ….

      • Why don’t we look at what worked extremely well in the past? Is that too dumb a thing to do nowadays?

        The largest number of most affordable houses built in NZ, with the best possible ‘prosperity’ outcomes for communities and individuals, was during the days of mixed public finance or financial assistance & private construction, back in the State Advances Corporation + Group Housing era …

        With modifications including SOME RMA reform, there’s no reason ‘WE’, the collective & individual ‘sectors’, government AND the free-market, couldn’t do the same thing again …

        While politicians try to win votes with EITHER/OR policy announcements, some in direct contradiction to their Party’s very reason d’etre – like National – precisely bugger all will continue happening …

        • PDB

           /  May 17, 2017

          PZ: “Is that too dumb a thing to do nowadays?”

          Yes. Go back far enough and we can all live in caves for bugger all cost.

          • Gezza

             /  May 17, 2017

            There aren’t enough caves. Unless we build more houses & put man caves in them all.

            • PDB

               /  May 17, 2017

              Waterview tunnel could fit all the homeless – not like it’s being used for anything else at the moment.