"Successive governments have failed to address housing and it is now the largest single expense faced by New Zealand households, It’s time for real change to allow Kiwis to build,” says ACT’s Deputy Leader and Housing spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“Earlier this week Stats NZ reported housing costs are leading the cost of living crisis. 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.

“In the 12 months to March 2022, building material prices increased by more than a third. Plasterboard prices, in particular, have increased dramatically. Plasterboard is 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:

  • Incentivise and resource councils to provide infrastructure for new homes by sharing half of the GST with them
  • Scrap the Resource Management Act, replacing it with a new Urban Development Act that respects existing property rights while making it easier to increase housing supply
  • 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

“In the case of GST sharing, I already have a bill in the member’s ballot that’s ready to go. The Government could use it to create real change in housing immediately if they had the political fortitude.

“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.”

The cost of living document can be found here. 

A cost of living crisis can be found here