Fixing National’s housing crisis must be a top priority for English and Bennett

Incoming Prime Minister Bill English should make a commitment to all New Zealanders that he will do what John Key refused to – build more affordable homes, close tax loopholes for property speculators, and end homelessness, the Green Party said today.

The median Auckland house now costs $851,944 and the median house price nationwide is now $520,000, a new record high, according to data released today by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ).

“Bill English needs to make fixing the housing crisis a top priority and he should start by committing his Government to building tens of thousands of affordable homes,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

“I think Bill English knows that one of the most effective ways to fix the broken housing market and address property speculation would be a capital gains tax (excluding the family home) – he just hasn’t had the guts to follow through with implementing it.

“A capital gains tax (excluding the family home) is one of several demand-side tools Bill English could and should use, along with addressing negative gearing and stopping overseas investors from buying up houses and residential land.

“Bill English shouldn’t leave the demand-side policies to the Reserve Bank like John Key did, because the Reserve Bank’s loan-to-value ratios haven’t been able to stop the median Auckland house price increasing by more than quarter of a million dollars since they were introduced in late 2013.

“Unfortunately, Bill English and his new deputy Paula Bennett have a history of exacerbating the housing crisis, including engineering a massive sell-off of state houses, rather than taking meaningful action to fix it.

“As Social Housing Minister, Paula Bennett looked like she was making things up as she went along, but now as Deputy Prime Minister I hope she can take a more strategic approach to ending homelessness.

“The Green Party’s Home for Life plan would see thousands of new affordable homes made available to people on lower incomes through a progressive ownership rent-to-buy programme, and thousands more new homes built in partnership with the community housing sector,” Mrs Turei said.

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