“If politicians want to see a growing New Zealand population, don’t tell us to have more kids, make housing affordable,” says ACT’s Deputy Leader and Housing Spokesperson Brooke van Velden.
“I’ve been told numerous times by young New Zealanders that the most effective contraception in New Zealand is the housing market. People can’t see a future in which they can afford to bring up a family here.
“This view is backed up by research, this 2012 article from Democraphic Research found “The effect of being in an expensive housing market is a delay of first births by three to four years…” This comparison of birth rates in the USA show that they drop most rapidly in counties with the fastest-appreciating home values. A paper from the University of Bristol even found that renting is bad for fertility.
“It’s no wonder New Zealanders are reluctant to have kids, the number of 25–29-year-olds living in their own home here has fallen by more than a quarter since 1986, from 61 per cent to 44 per cent.
“Housing is unaffordable because it is too difficult and expensive to build enough homes. One problem is infrastructure funding, another problem is expensive building material and red tape.
“ACT has policies to address these issues. Whether it is sharing GST with local councils on consents to fund infrastructure, or the Materials Equivalence Register which would ensure more competition and address supply issues around building materials.
“My Member’s Bill for GST-Sharing was read in Parliament just this week. ACT, National, the Greens, Te Pati Māori, and both independent MPs voted for it, but Labour used its majority to quash a sensible policy whose time has come.
“These simple changes would put New Zealand in a much better place to go forward as a more united, less divided community, with more housing built for the next generation.
“With successive Governments failing on housing it is clear real change is needed. ACT has the policies to make housing more affordable – then more Kiwis might want to grow their families.”