Let’s get houses built!

The Kiwi dream has long been to own your own home, but rising house prices means getting on the property ladder is now out of reach for many, especially our younger generations.

Median house prices have jumped almost 50% over the last three years: from $530,000 to $780,000. In our major cities, the median house price is even higher – now over $1 million in Auckland. Rents have increased by $120 per week over the same period. You’ll be lucky to find a three-bedroom home in the Franklin area for under $500,000.

In late March the Government announced its ‘package’ to deal with the housing crisis, including a change in the tax laws whereby people who own a rental will no longer be able to deduct the interest costs against their rental income, and the possible establishment of an infrastructure fund to assist local councils to fund construction of infrastructure that supports housing development.

We don’t think these proposals will change the market dynamic. The issue is simply to build more houses. We are proposing legislation that will put in place emergency powers to ramp up house building – similar to those used in Canterbury following the earthquakes, with proven success – which will require urban councils to immediately zone more land for housing. Councils are currently struggling to make land available due to Resource Management Act constraints.

As an incentive, councils will be allocated a $50,000 grant for every new house they consent over and above their five-year historical average, to be used to fund infrastructure such as pipes, roads and public transport. It would be a streamlined mechanism for allocating the Government’s housing infrastructure fund.

Governments have a range of levers they can pull to address housing issues, with infrastructure being one of the biggest. But the way we pay for and deliver infrastructure needs to be readdressed. Asking only five million people to cover the multibillion-dollar cost of pipes and roads for an entire country through taxes and rates alone isn’t going to deliver the scale of infrastructure we need at the pace we need it.

More infrastructure will be critical if we are to build our way back to housing affordability and productivity.

Finally, we have mobile constituents clinics scheduled for 24 May in Pokeno, Te Kauwhata, Naike and Waiuku. These are the ideal time to meet with me and my staff if it’s not convenient for you to travel to our office in Pukekohe. To make an appointment, please phone the office: 09 238 5976