I can understand why the Housing Crisis Action Group is planning to hold a protest at Parliament this afternoon against these drastic changes to the government’s social housing policy.
This has resulted in a severe loss of state housing across the country and meantime, the National-Act Government’s response to the Productivity Commission’s housing affordability report does nothing to help struggling Kiwi families get into their first home.
As Labour’s Spokesperson on Housing, Hon Annette King, said on November 2nd, “There is nothing in National’s response today that will make housing more affordable. It will do nothing to put the missing rung of the housing ladder in place and give people a leg up to it. The Government is in denial and is condemning the housing sector to a path of decline.”
From the perspective of my Building and Construction portfolio, I note Productivity Commission Chief executive Murray Sherwin said back in December that the cost of building a new house in Auckland is 25 percent higher than Melbourne and Gold Coast, and the difference was “not due to the requirements of the building code’” yet so far, all we have heard from this Government are the clichés about how we must “reduce delays and costs of RMA processes” to supposedly get things moving.
Mr Sherwin also said materials account for 55 per cent of the cost of a new house, and they are “significantly cheaper” in Australia. Although part of that was due to the small size of the Kiwi market, a lack of standardised products, combined with high domestic transportation costs, had hiked building costs in New Zealand.
Clearly, any investigation along those lines would sound a bit too much like intervention for this market-driven National-Act Government.
It’s also interesting how Mr Sherwin’s suggestion that the Commerce Commission “can investigate’ complaints about businesses fixing prices, carving up markets or abusing market positions has also gone completely unanswered.
In fact, the National-Act Government’s response will do nothing to get struggling Kiwi families into their first home.