National’s backtrack forces another visionless, shambolic policy

The National Party has released another confused and rushed policy that will only further worsen the inequality that is driven by unaffordable housing.

“Everyone should have a warm, dry, safe place to call home. We must commit to making the long-term investment we need to create thriving neighbourhoods with enough affordable housing and transport,” says Green Party urban development spokesperson Julie Anne Genter.

Speaking on Q+A this morning, National Party housing spokesperson Chris Bishop said that they would go back on the bipartisan MDRS agreement, and instead introduce a policy to create more costly urban sprawl, while giving more public money to landlords.

“National’s rushed policy is not worth the paper it is written on and would set back housing development for decades. It is simply a continuation of the exact same failed approach of the 1990s that caused the very problems we have today. National are not fit to govern.

“Right now, those on the lowest incomes spend the majority of their income on rent, meaning that they can’t afford other basics like food. Many families also struggle to put down roots in communities because they have to constantly move to manage rising rents.

“The Greens know that one of the key ways to solve this is to make it easier to build more affordable good quality homes. These should be built in places where people already live, with existing infrastructure and along existing transport routes.

“National describe the problem as lack of housing due to planning rules, but then walked away from the bipartisan solution to that problem.

“National is terribly confused in this policy. On the one hand they acknowledge the benefits of more homes along rapid transit corridors, and want to protect farmland. On the other hand, they’re also pushing ad hoc greenfields development - which results in loss of productive farmland and housing that is disconnected from community and infrastructure. This causes high transport costs for families and worse traffic. Even Chris Bishop accepted their greenfields policy would make sprawl worse.

“We have to scale up density where people already live. We also know that density needs to be done well, to ensure our homes are warm, dry, safe and climate friendly. This includes development bonuses – the ability to build higher where there's additional good stuff for residents. Housing policy also must look after renters, not be stacked in favour of landlords, as National wants to return to.

“At a time when the planet is warming and people are struggling to make ends meet, Aotearoa cannot risk another period of National’s neglect. With more Green MPs in the next government, we can make sure we deliver the long term solutions to housing and climate change that Aotearoa needs,” says Julie Anne Genter.

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