KiwiBuild “socialism for the rich”

Phil Twyford and Labour talked up their ambitious KiwiBuild policy while in opposition, but have found implementation in Government difficult.

This week Twyford announced eligibility criteria for going in the ballot to get a KiwiBuild house which includes income caps of $120k for a single person and $180k for a couple. This has raised fresh criticisms.

Barry Soper: KiwiBuild scheme looking more and more like middle-class welfare

Phil Twyford was, in his words, opening the door to affordable home ownership, which was little more than a public relations exercise. He invited aspiring home owners to register their interest in a ballot for a KiwiBuild home which was a bit like taking a stab in the dark.

Far from opening the door, there’s still not a door to open – the first house has yet to make its appearance and over the next year just 1000 doors will beckon the ballots. And to qualify for a key to your phantom household you’ll have to be earning less than $120,000 if you’re a singleton and $180,000 if you have a partner.

Unfortunately it looks as though it’s shaping up to be a middle class housing programme where you’d certainly need that level of income to cope with the mortgage, with the current average expected to be $650,000 and rising.

$120-180k is hardly middle classes. It’s double average incomes.

The Government has also been criticised for it’s expensive fee-free tertiary education policy mostly benefiting better off students. And for it’s ‘winter warmer’ handout going to all pensioners, including far from poor ones like Winston Peters.

Bryce Edwards’ Political Roundup: Kiwibuild is now “socialism for the rich”

If there was any excitement brewing at being able to enter a lottery to buy an affordable Kiwibuild house, it was certainly short-lived, as further details revealed that the “lottery of birth” has probably already scuttled most people’s chances. Disappointment is setting in as more people realise that the scheme is really only going to benefit the rich.

This is because the houses are priced so high that few will be able to afford to even enter the final ballot for them. What’s more, many are asking why the income caps have been pitched so high that the scheme seems destined to be dominated by rich buyers who are after a good investment.

Newshub’s Jenna Lynch was highly critical: “in effect there is no real income cap. Only the top eight per cent won’t be able to buy these homes. It’s a free for all. This is not going to help those on low or middle incomes – they’ll be locked out by relatively high wage earners” – see her column: Kiwibuild a free for all.

According to Stuff journalist Henry Cooke, the “sky-high income cap”, together with any lack of “weighting for need or income like there is for state houses”, means the rich will benefit the most: “Needy families who could really use the help will be out in the cold hard private rental market while a couple of doctors making $80k each will happily move into a nice new home” – see: Why the Government is letting the rich buy KiwiBuild homes.

But Cooke reports that there is some logic behind this “socialism for the rich” approach. First, Twyford argues that there will be a trickle-down effect whereby the rich buying the Kiwibuild houses will eventually benefit the poor through other houses becoming cheaper (or just not getting more expensive).

I thought that ‘trickle down’ was a dirty term these days, especially on Labour’s left.

Second, there’s the need, electorally, for Labour to keep the rich happy, with the idea that Kiwibuild is also for them: “Setting the income cap so high also invites quite a lot of middle-class buy-in.”

In other words, handing out houses to a voting demographic. Some may call that vote buying (using taxpayer money).

Third, there’s a likelihood that the Government will actually need rich people to be buying the houses, given that they will be unaffordable to most others.

New houses are usually too expensive for lower income first home buyers.

There’s a line being run by the Government that the lottery-element of Kiwibuild is a great equaliser – because poor applicants have just as much chance of having their name picked as rich applicants. Twyford has said “Everyone has an equal shot in the ballot so people who are on a low income, or a high income, as long as they fit the criteria … then they can have a crack at doing this” – see Jane Patterson’s Ballot will keep Kiwibuild equal, Twyford says.

“Great equaliser’ is a nonsense claim.

It is an equal chance for those who can afford a half million dollar plus new house to be drawn from the ballot, but only some will be able to win a prize house.

From Reddit:

When even avowed lefty Bryce Edwards is calling you out with such a brutal headline you have a problem Phil.

This whole thing has been a complete and utter disaster from Labour. They campaigned on a fantasy and instead the lower and middle classes’ tax dollars are going straight into the pockets of property developers and investors.

He even used the trickle down argument!

Twyford seems to be stumbling from Pr disaster to disaster, and at best it is going to take some time for KiwiBuild to actually build any significant number of houses.

And by trying to show that he is making progress well before significant progress has been made could backfire.

If people who could afford to build their own home decide to sit and wait in the ballot hoping for a windfall capital gain thanks to the Government it could reduce new house building further in the private sector.

 

 

Response to KiwiBuild ballot criteria

There were nearly 6,000 registrations of interest for KiwiBuild homes on the first day people could apply.

There were also a number of criticisms of the generous income criteria for those eligible to buy tickets in the government housing lottery. Few houses are likely to be available this year, and not a lot next year either.

RNZ: Ballot will keep Kiwibuild equal, Twyford says

Requiring people to ballot for Kiwibuild homes would help to ensure those on lower incomes still have a good chance, Housing Minister Phil Twyford says.

The income caps are $120,000 for sole purchasers and $180,000 for couples.

To be eligible, buyers must be purchasing their first home, or be “second chancers” – those people who have not yet had an opportunity to own their own home or who no longer own one.

They must be New Zealand citizens, permanent residents or those who ordinarily reside in New Zealand, and intend to own and live in the house for at least three years.

As of early evening there have been nearly 6000 registrations of interest in KiwiBuild since it opened online at 10am, and the numbers are climbing.

The balloting system would help to avoid those on the higher incomes blocking out those earning less, Mr Twyford said.

“Everyone has an equal shot in the ballot so people who are on a low income, or a high income, as long as they fit the criteria … then they can have a crack at doing this.”

He defended the high threshold for the income cap saying there were “not many” houses in Auckland people earning more than $100,000 could afford.

But some people will be more equal than others – those who can afford deposits, and those who get drawn from the ballot.

National’s Amy Adams: KiwiBuild a fail for lower-income families

The Government is admitting that its ‘affordable’ KiwiBuild houses are out of reach for many lower and middle income families by having to lift the eligibility criteria to $180,000, National’s Finance spokesperson Amy Adams says.

“Housing Minister Phil Twyford has set the eligibility criteria for KiwiBuild so wide that 92 per cent of first home buyers are eligible. That’s because he knows he will fail to deliver houses that are affordable to lower and middle income earners.

“Having such a wide criteria and a ballot system to determine the lucky few to get a subsidy is unfair and will mean struggling families could miss out in favour of higher income families and people with significant cash assets.

“There are 24,000 first home buyers a year and the Government is now only planning to deliver 1,000 homes in its first 20 months in office – so they should be targeted to lower and middle income families.

“It is ironic that Labour doesn’t think that someone on the average wage deserves a tax cut, but believes families earning $180,000 deserve a subsidy to help them buy their first home.

Some people on lower incomes will be able to benefit from low rent state houses.

But KiwiBuild is likely to be dominated by people on higher incomes who see an opportunity to make some capital gain from a cheaper Government funded/built house.

Qualifying for Kiwibuild ‘affordable home’

Ahead of an announcement expected today Stuff has details on eligibility to buy a Kiwibuild home, optimistically labled ‘affordable’ in Couples earning up to $180k will be able to buy homes

The income test is $120,000 for a sole buyer or $180,000 for a couple. Both citizens and New Zealand residents will be eligible.

The homes will be available to all first-home buyers and most “second-chancers” – usually people who go through a divorce and have lost property. Second-chancers must not have assets exceeding $120,000 in Auckland, $100,000 in most other cities, or $80,000 for the rest of New Zealand.

First-home buyers will not be subject to a financial asset test – they will simply need to be buying a first home.

Housing Minister says this will allow 92% of first home buyers to be eligible. Presumably the other 8% earn too much. And presumably, most of them should be able to buy a house without Government help.

Occupation and resale requirements:

Those who purchase a home will need to live in it for at least three years without selling it, but will be able to rent out spare rooms to flatmates.

Some purchasers will be able to sell the home within three years if special circumstances such as a death or serious illness occur – but they will need to apply for permission from the Government, who will consider each person on a case-by-case basis.

Scoring a Kiwibuild house will be a type of lottery for those who pass eligibility tests.

For the first years of the scheme, the homes will be balloted, meaning every eligible buyer who enters will have an equal chance of buying a home.

As has been widely noted, ‘affordable’ is still a hell of a lot for first home buyers.

Three-bedroom homes in Auckland and Christchurch will cost $650,000 or less, with two-bedroom homes costing $600,000 or less and one-bedroom homes costing $500,000 or less.

All KiwiBuild homes outside of Auckland or Christchurch will cost $500,000 or less.

That’s still a lot of money – and for most wanting a new house it will mean a lot of mortgage, if they can get one.

First, houses will need to be built. Actually no, first sufficient suitable land will need to be found and pass Resource Consent requirements.

Nation: Twyford on Kiwibuild progress

This morning NewsHub Nation interviews Minister of Housing Phil Twyford on progress on the ambitious but slow  Kiwibuild programme.

@Jasonwalls92

Twyford says he has been talking to bother overseas and NZ investors about preprefab investment.

He says when KiwiBuild is up and running, he wants roughly half to be prefabs.

Twyford will not names of investors, but says the Superfund has shown interest. They have also expressed strong interest in Auckland light rail.

100 proposals for development of KiwiBuild homes Twyford says. Can’t say how many will get the contracts but will be making an announcement within the next few weeks.

On prefabs, it’s an area where banks have in the past been reluctant to issue mortgages because of the complex nature of the homes. Will be interesting to see what Twyford does to get around this issue, or how he’s going to work with the banks.

@NewshubNationNZ

Housing Minister Phil Twyford says the Kiwibuild unit in the Ministry of Building, Innovation and Employment is the ’embryo’ of the Urban Development Authority he hopes to establish next year.

The Government will formally “invite expressions of interest” from construction firms both internationally and in New Zealand on creating a prefabrication industry to meet Kiwibuild targets.

International construction firms? Chinese construction firms perhaps?

The Nation: Housing Minister Phil Twyford (transcript) http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1806/S00262/the-nation-housing-minister-phil-twyford.htm

Twyford under pressure on Kiwibuild policy of straw

Labour campaigned on a bold policy to build 100,000 new ‘affordable’ houses in ten years. Phil Twyford was prominent in promoting the policy and slamming the then National led government for it’s poor record on housing.

But Twyford has hit some speed bumps, with chimneys falling off Labour’s grand plans.

Twyford has been found wanting on detail over affordability and pricing of Kiwibuild houses, and it now seems that the Government won’t necessarily build all those houses promised – they will buy from existing housing stock, developments and off plans.  This may allow them to claim numbers, but it will reduce privately built and owned houses.

There has always been questions about how affordable Kiwibuild houses might be. How does half a million dollars for a one bedroom apartment  sound?

NZH: Larger Kiwibuild homes will cost $50k more than promised during election campaign

The Government has hiked the price of larger houses in its flagship building programme by $50,000.

Labour’s election promise to build 100,000 affordable houses in 10 years included prices of between $500,000 and $600,000 for standalone homes and a cap of $500,000 for apartments.

Tender documents sent out to developers on Tuesday show that new homes built under the Kiwibuild programme would now be priced according to how many bedrooms they had.

One-bedroom properties would be sold for $500,000, two-bedroom for $600,000 and three-bedroom for $650,000.

That meant the larger houses were $50,000 more than Labour promised during the election.

A spokeswoman for Twyford said that was because the modelling on the prices had been done two years ago and had now been updated.

Will prices be updates again when the houses are actually built?

Newshub: Housing Minister apologises for ‘confusion’ on price of KiwiBuild homes

Housing Minister Phil Twyford has apologised for a mistake he made about the price of a KiwiBuild home.

On Friday morning on The AM Show, Mr Twyford said the price of a one-bedroom Kiwibuild home would be $550,000.

Mr Twyford now admits he was wrong.

“I misspoke this morning when discussing the KiwiBuild price points. I apologise for any confusion caused,” he said in a statement to Newshub.

“Yeah, it’s gone up slightly. We did the original modelling for those price points two years ago, and under Judith’s [Collins, National housing spokeswoman] Government’s policies, build costs are rampant,” Mr Twyford told The AM Show.

 

And KiwiBuild seems to have also become KiwiBeg and KiwiBuy.

The Government has also been under fire from the Opposition over its plans to buy homes currently under development in order to reach its ambitious KiwiBuild targets. Documentation on the scheme now says it “aims to facilitate the delivery of 100,000 affordable dwellings”, rather than just build.

“By underwriting or buying affordable KiwiBuild homes off the plan, what we do is we de-risk and speed up developments that otherwise might not take place at all.”

It is also likely to take over private developments, simply moving numbers from private to public and not increasing housing stock as much as promised.

Duncan Garner calls it “a total hoax”r: If Twyford can’t Phil us in on KiwiBuy/Build, who can?

Seriously, what has Labour and its MPs been doing these last nine years? Eating their lunch? We’d been led to believe its flagship Kiwibuild idea was this amazing, smart and innovative housing policy. We’d been told it was an answer to the housing crisis for those who couldn’t get into their first home.

And I assumed KiwiBuild meant just that;  as Housing Minister Phil Twyford said, 100,000 homes would be built.

Now we learn, um no, that’s not the case. It’s Kiwibuy, that house, your house, any house will do.

Labour has simply thrown its arms up in the air and put up a classified advertisement the size of a house that calls for all houses to be bought and sold as Kiwibuild dwellings. Labour wants the biggest shortcut to success possible.

It wants to buy current homes under construction or off the plans and call them Kiwibuild’s own. It’s a total hoax.

And what, Labour suddenly wants to partner up with the private sector? How convenient.

What happened to development on a genuine scale and with true Government buying power.

To me, it looks like Labour and Twyford have made this all up on the back of a moving envelope. It is underwhelming nonsense from a party that looks bewildered and blinded by the size of the challenge. It lacks detail.

 

Prime Minister refuses to reaffirm Kiwibuild numbers

In the first Question Time under the new Government Bill English pressed acting Prime Minister Kelvin Davis on Labour’s commitment to build 100,000 houses in 10 years. Davis refused to reaffirm this repeatedly.

(Davis is Acting Prime  Minister while Jacinda Ardern and Winston Peters are at APEC in Vietnam.)

GovernmentMeasurable Targets

1. Rt Hon BILL ENGLISH (Leader of the Opposition) to the Prime Minister: What will the specific measurable targets be, if any, that she will use to hold her Government to account?

Hon KELVIN DAVIS (Acting Prime Minister): As Prime Minister, I will hold my Ministers to account for improving the well-being and living standards of New Zealanders.

Rt Hon Bill English: What is the appropriate measure we should follow to monitor progress on KiwiBuild where the Government has committed to build 100,000 houses over the next 10 years?

Hon KELVIN DAVIS: We will make decisions on appropriate targets in due course.

Rt Hon Bill English: So does that mean that the current expression of the Government’s commitment, which is “to build 100,000 houses over the next 10 years” does not necessarily mean what most people would take it to mean?

Hon KELVIN DAVIS: We will make and confirm decisions on appropriate targets in due course.

Rt Hon Bill English: Does the Prime Minister stand by her Government’s commitment to “build 100,000 houses over the next 10 years”?

Hon KELVIN DAVIS: We will make and confirm decisions on appropriate targets in due course.

Rt Hon Bill English: Why did the Government commit to “build 100,000 houses over the next 10 years” if it is now not willing to re-express that commitment in this House?

Hon KELVIN DAVIS: Because the previous Government didn’t build houses.

Rt Hon Bill English: Is it possible that the Government is revising this commitment because of public statements made by the Minister of Housing and Urban Development, that the commitment may involve not building houses but buying existing houses?

Hon KELVIN DAVIS: No.

Rt Hon Bill English: What other reason could there possibly be for not being willing to restate a commitment made by all its members right though the election campaign to “build 100,000 houses”? What other reason could there be not to make that commitment here today?

Hon KELVIN DAVIS: We are not revising targets. We will make and confirm decisions on appropriate targets in due course.

Rt Hon Bill English: So is the commitment to build 100,000 houses an appropriate target, or one that is subject to revision or further decisions, or is it one that we should take at its word?

Hon KELVIN DAVIS: The member will find out in due course.

Rt Hon Bill English: My question to the Prime Minister is this, then: are there other commitments that were made during the election campaign and in the Speech from the Throne that are now open to revision and later decisions?

Hon KELVIN DAVIS: We are committed to implementing what the Governor-General has said in the Speech from the Throne.

Hon Amy Adams: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I just want to clarify: it’s been the practice in the House for some time that a member answering on behalf of another member should clearly identify that. I didn’t want to interrupt the question, but can you clarify whether that is still the case?

Mr SPEAKER: The Prime Minister answered the question.

Davis may have been playing safe, but this was an odd opening performance.

From the Speech from the Throne:

Housing is a top priority for this government. Action will be taken to address homelessness. State house sell offs will stop. And the State will take the lead in building affordable houses.  Through its Kiwibuild programme, this government pledges to build 100,000 high quality, affordable homes over the next 10 years; half of them in Auckland.

Davis said they were committed to implementing that but wouldn’t make a direct commitment.

In the next question Housing Minister Phil Twyford was prepared to make a commitment.

Hon PHIL TWYFORD: Both the Prime Minister and the Minister of Housing and Urban Development have reiterated our policy, which is to build 100,000 affordable homes to restore affordable homeownership to this country.

So it is odd that Davis wasn’t prepared to make this same commitment directly.  He seemed to be avoiding saying anything.

However the Opposition has emphasised the Government’s housing commitment to build 100,000 ‘affordable’ homes in ten years.

Of course amongst other things this may depend on whether Labour stays in government for long enough to ensure they fulfil the commitment.

Source: https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/hansard-debates/rhr/combined/HansDeb_20171109_20171109_12

Twyford on land for Kiwibuild

Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Tyford was interviewed on The Nation yesterday (repeated this morning). He was questioned about where Labour would get land to build on in Auckland for the 50,000 houses they planned to build under their Kiwibuild policy.

Twyford seemed unprepared for this fairly predictable line of questioning, and was very vague on what land would be available.

  • “many of them around the railway network in Auckland”
  • “on the fringes of the city as well”
  • “if necessary, we will buy private land to develop”

And “We are going to work with the council, we are going to work with Ngati Whatua, we’re going to work with other investors.” Much like the current Government is trying to get land for development.

With the not insignificant matter of the RMA to deal with.

Let’s move on to what your solution is, which is KiwiBuild. You’ve already said that freestanding houses will be 600,000 or less. And where exactly are these 100,000 houses going?

So, Lisa, we don’t have a land shortage in New Zealand. Fewer than 1% of the land is urbanised. We have a highly restrictive planning system that chokes off the supply of new land. Labour’s going to free up those controls and allow cities to grow up and out.

So where specifically? Where specifically? Because as you pointed out, we’re four months from an election. Where’s the list from Labour which shows exactly where the houses go? Like this list from National, which shows me exactly which suburbs and how many houses. Where’s your list?

So, we’re going to build large urban development projects, many of them around the railway network in Auckland. So places like Henderson, Manukau, Mt Wellington, Onehunga, Panmure, Avondale.

Have you got the sites specifically identified?

Actually, Auckland Council’s already done much of the work on this. Their development agency, Panuku, has already identified all of those sites as being appropriate for development. Lisa, we’re also going to developments on the fringes of the city as well.

Amy Adams says that they are using, in this plan, basically all the available Crown land, so I’m struggling to understand where your land is that you’re going to build 100,000 houses on and why I haven’t yet seen… Because this policy of yours is, what, four and a half years old?

So here’s where Labour’s approach is different from National. National lacks ambition in this area. Their approach is confined to knocking down state houses and building private houses on that land. We are going to take a much broader, more productive approach, so—

So have you got a list of lots, of land lots, that you can give to us so we can have a look at it? Have you got that?

We are going to work with the council, we are going to work with Ngati Whatua, we’re going to work with other investors. And if necessary, we will buy private land to develop.

Okay, and what budget are you putting aside for that?

We’ve committed $2 billion to kick-start KiwiBuild, and we’re going to establish an affordable housing authority that will act as an urban development agency.
So that $2 billion of seeding money, are you telling us that that’s going to pay for the first wave of houses and all the commercially bought land that you’re going to have to buy?

Well, we haven’t identified exactly how much land we will buy, but we are going to establish an affordable housing authority—

Isn’t that the problem, Mr Twyford? Isn’t that the problem, though — the details?
Hang on, Lisa, you’ve asked me a question. Let me answer and I will give you an answer. We’re establishing an affordable housing authority that will cut through the red tape. We’ll put capital in to get it started, but it’s going to manage the Crown’s entire urban land holdings. It will use that balance sheet to buy land and develop land with other partners. So it’s a very different approach to what the government is saying.

Who will build all the houses?

So, who is going to build your 10,000 houses a year? Because we know that there’s a shortage of workers in the construction industry. So who’s going to build these?

So, call us old-fashioned, but we think it’s the job of the government to grow a New Zealand workforce of skilled tradespeople. So we’re going to massively increase the training for the construction trades and professions. That’s our priority. Now, the fact that National—

That takes time, doesn’t it? And you are aiming to build 10,000 houses a year. The apprenticeship industry tells us that we need 60,000 new workers over the next five years, and half of them need to be tradies. So come December 24th, who’s— September 24th, who’s building these houses?

Look, so National has completely failed to build the New Zealand workforce. They haven’t invested in the apprentices and the professions to do this work. Now, if we have to, we will rely on skilled tradespeople. We’ll bring in electricians, plumbers and carpenters from overseas if we have to.

Despite your policy of tightening up immigration.

Well, Lisa, the reason it’s called an immigration policy is we get to choose who comes here. So we will choose the electricians, the plumbers and the carpenters instead of bringing people to this country to flip burgers and pump gas.

Andrew Little has said Labour would cut immigration by “tens of thousands” and at one stage intimated by up to 50,000 a year.

I would have thought on two of the key issues Labour is pushing for this election campaign they would have things worked out better than this by now.

Newshub: Interview: Phil Twyford

Full transcript: The Nation: Lisa Owen interviews Phil Twyford

Labour’s Kiwibuild supported

Newshub/Reid Research have polled on Kiwibuild.

‘Do you support Labour’s Kiwibuild policy?’.

  • Yes 56%
  • No 41%
  • Don’t know 3%

This time a reasonable headline – Labour’s ‘Kiwibuild’ popular with voters  – but Patrick Gower again goes a bit overboard with his commentary.

Labour’s policy of building 100,000 affordable homes over 10 years for first home buyers is supported by a clear majority of voters.

It’s another blow on the housing front for National, as it shows Labour’s signature policy has significant support.

I don’t see it being a game changer, not at this stage at least. Much may depend on the state of the housing market in a year, leading into the next election.

Labour likes the result.

Leader Andrew Little says the result vindicates the policy and is proof it’s not only popular, but Kiwis believe it’s one of the best solutions to the crisis.

“People do expect when we do have a crisis of the nature we’ve got – a shortage of houses across the country – that if the private sector can’t do it, then the Government needs to step in and lead a building programme,” says Mr Little.

And Greens beat National over the head with it.:

Greens co-leader Metiria Turei is also welcoming the result, saying it flies in the face of the Government’s vehement opposition to a mass-scale house-building programme.

“National will not do it because they are so fixed in their ideology,” she says.

“I mean, they just launched a billion-dollar fund which had nothing to do with building new homes. They have no new ideas and I think that’s why they’re failing.”

Ironic for Greens to accuse someone else of being fixed in their ideology.

Prime Minister John Key says the poll result is not a sign the current system is failing.

“We don’t think it’s necessary because that’s 100,000 homes over 10 years,” he says.

“We’re going to build 100,000 homes under our programme in about 3.5 years.”

There has to be real signs of progress towards that by next year’s election or National could be dumped on housing.

 

Twyford admits Chinese name mistake

Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford has conceded that Labour’s profiling and analysis of Chinese sounding names was “a less than masterful piece of political communication”.

It was highly embarrassing for Labour and they were strongly criticised, including from the left.

Richard Harman revealed Twyford’s admission at Politik: Phil Twyford – rebuilding after the Chinese names affair.

Mr Twyford, made a controversial entry into the debate on foreign buyers last July with his release of statistics based on Chinese sounding names of house buyers in Auckland.

Now, over six months later he is prepared to concede that it was “a less than masterful piece of political communication” and he is careful to emphasise that he is talking about non-resident foreigners.

And that was the point of it though he says that offshore money probably accounts for 5 – 10% of the housing market.

However even that amount, he argues, has an impact at the margins of what is a market facing very tight supply constraints.

So what will Labour do about housing?

In a way Labour has disarmed itself in this battle by deciding to put the capital gains tax it went into the last two elections with on the table.

Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson earlier this year told POLITIK that Labour could consider extending National’s “brightline” capital gains tax out to five years.

But that’s as far as they would go.

This leaves Twyford scrambling to find a way to deal with the pervasive idea in New Zealand that property is a preferred investment option.

“Cracking down on property speculation is one of the things we have to do if we are going to turn this around,” he says.

“There is no question in my mind that there are four or five things we have to do and cracking down on speculation is one of them.

“We have said we are going to ban non-resident foreigners from speculating in housing and what we will do in Government is explore all the other legislative and policy things that currently drive vast amounts of capital into basically unproductive speculative real estate market which is damaging for home ownership and also the wider economy.”

But that’s about as specific as it gets.

“We’ve said we’re not looking at wholesale reform going into the next election,” he says.

But they also have their house building policy.

Labour plans to address those supply constraints with its Kiwibuild policy which would see 10,000 modest, “entry level” homes built every year for 10 years by Housing New Zealand onsold to private buyers.

That too poses its own challenges and Twyford concedes that the Resource Management Act is going to have to change to make it easier to build homes both within and without Auckland.

So will Labour work with National to reform the RMA?

The Labour ‘self-select’ model

Labour’s Kiwibuild policy will provide some people with cheap houses, giving them a windfall capital gain if it doesn’t drag all house prices down.

These houses could be eagerly sought, but the Kiwibuild fact sheet suggests the queue will ‘self-select’.

No household type will receive preference over any other household type. Nor will there be any income restrictions. On the whole, people will ‘self-select’, with those who can afford to move up the property ladder excluding themselves.

Is this based on the well proven Labour leadership ‘self-select’ model?

More blog comment on Kiwibuild: