Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Shameless housing hoax laid bare

“For a while it’s been clear something didn’t add up with the Government’s claims of delivering housing to those who most need it,” says ACT Housing spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“Where were all these new houses Jacinda Ardern boasted of?

“But that was the clever bit – she never quite said new houses, did she?

“For three and a half years in Parliament the Prime Minister carefully avoided talking about new social houses, instead always the curious phrase ‘public housing places.’

“The numbers were big.

“During the Adjournment Debate in August last year the Prime Minister claimed her Government was ‘on track to meet our goal of 6,400 public housing places.’

“But all the while, as exposed today in an excellent piece of work by Stuff, they’ve been robbing Peter to pay Paul.

“Or, as Community Housing Aotearoa chief executive Scott Figenshow articulately put it, Jacinda Ardern’s Government has effectively been cannibalising the affordable housing market, buying up existing housing stock that would have otherwise been available to first home buyers.

“It turns out they’ve done this by leasing and buying existing houses in the private market or from councils and community houses providers and reclassifying them, ‘in a move called a redirect.’

“This is the most cynical of political moves. Only around half the new ‘public housing places’ delivered so far are new properties, many of them consented before she became Prime Minister.

“Did the Prime Minister think the truth would never come to light?

“Anyway, rather than rake over the coals of this latest piece of egregious spin, how about the Government fast-track real, grassroots change to the things standing in the way of building more real houses?

“As the New Zealand Initiative made clear yesterday, supply is the key and ACT has the prescription for meeting it.”