Monday, 12 July 2021

Honest Conversations about housing and infrastructure


The ACT Party has today released the first of three Discussion Documents as part of our Honest Conversations series.

“Labour was elected to fix housing because National failed. Now they have failed as well, but that's politics. The real problem is not just that young New Zealanders cannot afford homes, the whole Kiwi dream no longer works,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Our Honest Conversations documents take the opportunity to propose positive solutions for New Zealand. ACT believes opposition is not just about opposing the Government but proposing a better way forward.

“Being a property-owning democracy was an essential part of the New Zealand story. People have come here for generations so that they could become property owners. Now, we're in danger of becoming a neo-feudal society with a property-owning class on the one hand, and the house-nots on the other.

“It's the ACT party's role to say when things aren't right, to have honest conversations. We said in 2016 that National's bright-line test would not work. We were right about that and we're being proven right about Labour's interest deductibility changes now, too, as house prices rise.

“Now ACT is putting forward a package that would solve the underlying problem in housing. The shortage of urban land. We need new ways to fund and build infrastructure, new coordination between central and local government, new rules for consenting land, and new ways of accessing building materials.

“This is the scale of response necessary for the scale of the problem. New Zealanders have been let down by enough gimmicks, like KiwiBuild that built 1,000 houses in three years. We need deep, structural reform that will transform the supply of housing for all New Zealand.

“That’s why today we’re proposing a GST-sharing scheme, we’d remove barriers to finance for build-to-rent schemes and we’d introduce a Public-Private Partnership Agency – the Nation-Building Agency (NBA).

“Every Government says it’ll fix housing. None have, but this Government is the worst. Faced with one of the biggest crises in a generation, the Government’s proposed changes to the RMA risk creating a regulatory nightmare rather than being a silver bullet for development. The proposal focusses on central planning and its first priority is to honour the Treaty. That won’t get things built.

“The Government should be asking ‘how do we create an environment for investment and development?’ Instead, this Government has targeted Mum and Dad landlords and investors with new housing taxes. By failing to ask the right question, it has failed to deliver on the very thing New Zealand needs it to - meaningful change so New Zealanders can build more homes.

“The fact is we’re simply not building enough. ACT is the only party that offers real solutions to the housing crisis. We’ve listened to New Zealanders.

“The scale of the problem is staggering. Last year, house prices rose by 30 percent. The median house price rose from $620,000 in May 2020 to $820,000 in May 2021.

“It’s already hard for young workers to save a deposit after tax, rent, utilities, and food, but on top of all that, a 20 percent deposit for a house went up by $40,000 in the past year.”

More details can be found here