Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Divisive package will hurt those it aims to help


“Today’s housing package is all about blaming Mum and Dad investors without properly acknowledging why they’ve invested in housing – lack of supply has driven up houses prices,” says ACT Housing spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“This is a Government failure, plain and simple. We’ve created an artificial shortage of land in a country of plenty.

“Today’s announcement of a capital gains tax by stealth also vindicates ACT’s original opposition to the original bright-line test.

“David Seymour called it ‘the acorn of a capital gains tax’ in 2015 and he correctly predicted it would grow.

“Labour isn’t only letting it expand from a sapling to a big tree, it’s breaking a promise.

“During the election campaign Grant Robertson categorically stated that raising income taxes was the extent of Labour’s tax plan, saying ‘we are committing to not implementing anything other than this if we’re in government.’

“Let’s be clear, more taxes will do nothing to improve housing affordability.

“Trying to solve a housing shortage by extending the bright-line test is like trying to end a famine by taxing food.

“Treasury says the extension is likely to put rents up, which will make it harder for those New Zealanders saving for their first home. 

“It’s tragic that the announcement to help first home buyers actually harms them.

“On supply, the Government is partially right – investment is needed to get infrastructure like roads and services to vacant land so more houses can be built.

“But it isn’t required for just state house building, as today’s package is, it’s needed for all house building.

“ACT has been saying this for some time, and has proposed establishing 30 year infrastructure partnerships between central and local government to achieve this.

“Today’s $3.8 billion funding announcement is an expensive band-aid that if properly applied should result in some more houses being built.

“But it’s a fraction of what’s needed, which is why ACT’s longer term solution deserves to become Government policy.

“This goes to the importance of delivering reform to consenting that allows this sort of infrastructure to be more easily built.

“Proposed reforms to the Resource Management Act won’t achieve that – in fact they may make the process slower and more cumbersome.

“That’s why we’re placing the caveat on today’s funding announcement ‘if properly applied.’

“This will only be a success if large numbers of houses are built in short order.

“We need to know much more about how this will happen and where these houses will be built.”

ENDS