“Housing is still in crisis and Labour and National are equally responsible, it’s time to stop demand-side policies that aren’t working and set a target for supply,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Many young New Zealanders have simply given up even aspiring to own their own home, because the price is out of reach. From 2000-2019 the price of housing rose 171 per cent faster than inflation.

“Young New Zealanders might not even realise that things weren’t always this way. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, home building rates consistently exceeded eight homes per thousand people per year, even peaking at 13 in 1974. In the wake of that period, home ownership rates peaked, in 1986, at 74 per cent. By 2018, home ownership rates had fallen from three quarters to under two thirds, at 64.5 per cent.

“It’s not hard to see why rates fell, from the 1980s onwards the number of homes being built has declined. In the 1980s and early 1990s, home building rates dropped to around six new homes per thousand people being built each year. After the Great Financial Crisis, they fell below four homes new homes per year, per one thousand people.

“Both Labour and National have focused on demand-side solutions, not supply. Tax changes, loan to value ratios, first home grants, and foreign buyer bans have not dealt with the underlying shortage, just tried (and failed) to ensure that politically favoured people ended up with more of the limited supply of housing available.

“We need to build like the boomers. Combining housing shortfall forecasts from the New Zealand Initiative and Infometrics with attrition estimates, ACT says 51,000 new homes will be needed every year for the next five years. That would allow current and future generations the same opportunities to own a home as prior ones. That level of building will require real change.

“In order to fix a housing crisis, governments need to commit to doing things differently. Labour, and National before them, have tinkered around the edges. But building costs are still too high, and there is still too much unnecessary red tape, which is why New Zealand ends up with such high house prices.

“There must be better incentives for local councils to support new builds, clearer rights and more flexible negotiation frameworks for neighbours and affected communities to support new development, and greater certainty for developers by reducing the costs and complexity of consenting processes.

ACT would:

  • Comprehensively overhaul Resource Management laws based on property rights. Meaning you have the right to develop your property and the only objections arise if you harm other people’s enjoyment of their property
  • Shake up infrastructure funding, including sharing over a billion dollars of GST revenue with local councils based on their building consent activity and allowing targeted rates to fund infrastructure on new developments
  • Allow builders to opt out of the council building consent regime so that they can use more innovative techniques and materials to improve affordability and quality
  • Use building insurance as an alternative to building consent authorities
  • Use Codes of Practice to reduce the need for consents, saving time and money

“I hear from too many young New Zealanders who have given up on owning their own home. They shouldn’t have to, with the right policies any Kiwi who works hard and saves should be able to own their own home one day,” says Ms van Velden.

“ACT’s housing policies will bring New Zealand back to its building heyday. New Zealanders are tired of empty promises. It is time to get politicians out of the building business and leave it to those who know best – locals on the ground and everyday New Zealanders spending their own money.

“Building homes has slowed down as the industry has been suffocated under layer upon layer of government regulation and intervention. ACT has listened and is proposing real change that will give industry more choice and make building houses easier.

“ACT believes in better, longer-lasting solutions. We need real change to ensure young Kiwis can achieve the dream of home ownership.”

Policy document is here.

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