“Anyone who has tried to build a house recently will have realised the costs are out of control. We hear ya,” says ACT’s Housing spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

Housing is too expensive because it is too hard to gain consents, council can’t afford infrastructure, and materials or labour to actually build dwellings are chronically short.

“The solution is not more government building programmes. Having builders contracted by the Government does not solve the underlying problems with consents, infrastructure, and materials. Even if Government programmes actually built any houses (and KiwiBuild suggests they won’t), they just compete with the private market to build homes that would have been built anyway.

“Last year there was even a plasterboard crisis. Plasterboard is literally a sandwich of plaster and cardboard. What first world, industrialised country gets itself into such a pickle where we have a nationwide shortage? An overly bureaucratic one.

“Labour has blamed greedy corporates for New Zealand’s building materials costs without first looking in the mirror.

“There are clear barriers to building homes that have gotten us to this point. ACT is proposing genuine solutions that will make a tangible difference and lead to more houses being built at lower prices.

ACT would:

• Automatically allow building materials approved by jurisdictions with high-quality regulators and similar seismic situations to ours (e.g., Japan and California) to be used in New Zealand

• Require councils to accept any ‘equivalent material’ certified by MBIE for use in building projects

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

“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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Brooke van Velden