“Housing Minister Megan Woods has issued a statement boasting about the work of her Plasterboard Taskforce, boasting that enough material for three days of building is being shipped to New Zealand. The boast only shows how out of touch she is,” says ACT Deputy Leader and Housing spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“Woods says “about 100 containers holding approximately 220,000sqm of plasterboard – enough for about 440 houses are on the way to New Zealand, arriving in the next few weeks.”

“That’s enough for 0.9 per cent of the consents issued in the year to May, or enough for three days’ worth of supply.

“We have a building materials crisis. We need more plasterboard than three days’ worth.

“Woods says ““Four alternative plasterboard products to GIB - which has been in short supply - are able to be used to meet the requirements of the New Zealand Building Code for bracing qualities, including Elephant Board, USG Boral, ProRoc and SaveBOARD.”

“According to those in the industry, bracing concerns were the low hanging fruit with objections from councils remaining over fire safety and water damage.

“It’s New Zealand’s 78 local authorities who raised those objections. What the Minister hasn’t explained is whether her changes will force them to accept the new standards.

“It’s possible her announcement contains no news at all but given the vagueness of her statement nobody can be sure.

“ACT’s solution cuts through to the central problem, reducing bureaucracy instead of creating it. 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.

“The issue is here now; Kiwis shouldn’t have to wait for a taskforce to go away and deliberate before eventually coming to a conclusion and eventually provoking some action. The Minister should get on and do it.”

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Brooke van Velden