The Government, Labour and the Greens are rushing out housing
policy this week as the debate over affordable housing and
who can provide the best option for first-home buyers
Housing Minister Nick Smith and his Associate Minister Paula
Bennett released figures estimating there were 11,850
HomeStart grants available to support Canterbury - although
they failed to qualify their statement headline in their
following media statement.
Labour Party leader David Cunliffe said a couple earning
about $75,000 a year would be $200 a week better off buying a
two-bedroom terraced KiwiBuild home instead of an equivalent
new build under National's policy.
And Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei said her party's key
housing policy for the election was to deliver healthy houses
for the poorest children by improving the quality of rental
accommodation and rights of tenants.
The Greens proposed a warrant of fitness for all rented
houses to ensure all children were growing up in warm and
About $3 million of extra funding would be available to help
families taking action against substandard rental housing and
insulating another 200,000 homes would be undertaken at a
cost of $327 million.
''Renting is the new reality for many New Zealanders and it's
time for laws around safety, quality and security of our
rental homes to be updated to reflect this.''
More than one million adults and 400,000 children now lived
in rental homes, Mrs Turei said.
Dr Smith said a record 380 houses were built in Canterbury
each month, more than treble the historic average of 100
homes a month.
KiwiSaver HomeStart would complement other initiatives by
helping young people get together the deposit and loan for
their first home, encouraging more homes to be built in an
Canterbury remains a major focus for the Government as it
seeks to maintain its commanding vote from the 2011 election.
Dr Smith said the second chance component of HomeStart would
be important for Canterbury where there were people who had
lost their equity in their home in the ''extraordinary
circumstances'' of the earthquakes.
A non-first home buyer who might not have been insured, who
might have been under-insured or through some other
circumstances had ended up with no home and little equity
would be able to receive a HomeStart grant.
To qualify, their equity needed to be less than 20% of the
new house price cap of $450,000, or $90,000, he said.
Mr Cunliffe said National's policy to give grants to
first-home buyers to buy new build homes did nothing to
address supply and rein in runaway house prices. Instead,
house prices were likely to rise higher.
Labour's KiwiBuild policy would build 100,000 new affordable
homes over 10 years and sell them at cost to first-home
buyers, he said.
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said foreign-owned
building and land development companies would profit from
National throwing money at home buyers.
China was likely to be one of the beneficiaries of National's
limp plan to deal with the housing crisis, Mr Peters said.
''Foreign companies have been major buyers of land around
Auckland and land banking it for future subdivisions.
Aucklanders know it and many are concerned,'' he said.