“The Government has taken the best part of the year to come to the obvious conclusion – there’s not enough competition in the building materials market. Unlike ACT, they can’t come up with a solution,” says ACT Deputy Leader and Housing spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“When New Zealand’s construction sector ground to a halt due to a plasterboard shortage, ACT proposed a Materials Equivalence Register to allow access to foreign approved substitute materials that can be used to build houses.

“It is a simple solution that cuts through to the central problem. Instead the Government assembled a plasterboard taskforce and commissioned a study to point out the obvious. Even now they know what the problem is they can’t figure out a way to fix it.

“The Government’s response goes part of the way there but it is too weak. It says: “MBIE will consider options to prioritise the use of generic conformance criteria in the Building Code acceptable solutions and verification methods, review and incorporate international standards, publish guidance information to encourage the use of alternative solutions, and evaluate and certify products from overseas bodies.”

“All they’ve announced today is more bureaucracy designed to help people navigate the existing bureaucracy. This is why we can’t get anything done in New Zealand.

“The fact is building houses 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.

“We know that good substitutes for name-brand plasterboard and other scarce building products exist. The Materials Equivalence Register would require councils to accept them and let builders and architects get on with building houses.

“ACT is committed to fixing New Zealand’s building woes. I have a Member’s Bill due to be read in Parliament that would incentivise and resource councils to provide infrastructure for new homes by sharing half of the GST with them.

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

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