Labour and National too afraid to do what’s needed to stop rising house prices

Both Labour and National are playing politics over skyrocketing demand for Auckland homes and both parties are too afraid to do what’s actually needed, which is introduce a capital gains tax on all properties but the family home, the Green Party says.

“Labour and National are putting short-term political interests ahead of the interests of younger Kiwis trying to buy their first home,” Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said today.

“By backing away from a capital gains tax, Labour is becoming part of the problem, rather than part of the solution.

“We need to stop property sales to non-resident foreign buyers, but we also need a capital gains tax to dampen domestic speculation.

“By stopping non-resident foreign buyers but retaining tax incentives that encourage Kiwis to lock up their savings in property, Labour is just displacing one problem with another.

“National’s ‘bright-line’ test isn’t going to stop enough people from speculating in the housing market to make a meaningful difference either.

“Both National and Labour need to stop cherry picking their housing policies based on how they fit their short-term electoral goals, and start making housing policy that will actually help New Zealanders.

“All political parties need policies to deal with both the supply and the demand sides of the problem, if they’re interested in creating a fair housing market.

“When Auckland house prices are rising by 26% a year, and the median house price is $755,000, it’s time for politicians to stop worrying about polls and elections and start acting.

“The Green Party would increase the supply of affordable housing by undertaking a state-sanctioned house-building programme, using the Government’s access to cheap finance.

“We would also introduce a progressive ownership initiative to enable low-income families to 'rent-to-own' Government-built houses at an affordable price.

“These supply initiatives, along with dampening demand by restricting non-resident foreign buyers and introducing a capital gains tax, will enable more New Zealanders to own their own homes ­– it’s as simple as that.

“National and Labour’s housing half-measures aren’t going to get more Aucklanders into their own homes – in fact, they’re having the opposite effect,” said Mrs Turei.