Labour's new affordable housing policy is to build 100,000
basic homes over 10 years - a scheme Labour's leader David
Shearer said will create jobs as well as give first home
buyers in areas of high house prices such as Auckland the
chance to buy a home.
Mr Shearer set out the details of the 'KiwiBuild' policy in
his keynote speech at the party's annual conference today. He
said it was the largest public building programme in 50 years
- and as well as addressing the problem of housing
affordability for first home buyers, it would create jobs.
Labour will also clamp down on landlords by requiring rental
properties to meet minimum standards of insulation and
heating before they can be tenanted out.
It was Mr Shearer's first Labour conference speech as the
leader -and the pressure was high even before leadership
speculation was reignited yesterday by David Cunliffe's
refusal to rule out a further challenge.
That distracted attention away from the main business of the
conference and Mr Shearer made a pointed reference to it at
the beginning of his speech saying Labour had to show New
Zealanders it was focussed on their ambitions "rather than
He said his time working in countries of hardship overseas
had emphasised for him the important of the values that
underpinned New Zealand society - and sparked the belief that
he could not just stand back.
"I am in politics to make lives better. I'm not here to cross
something off my bucket list, or to indulge in some sense of
celebrity. I went out into the world to help improve people's
lives and I've chosen to enter politics for the same reason."
Mr Shearer also criticised the National Government, saying it
had failed to deliver on its promise to create jobs. He
pointed to changes made by former Labour governments and
pledged to hold to the same values.
Mr Shearer was introduced by his wife, Anuschka, who said she
first met Mr Shearer in the early 1980s of the Muldoon
government when they flatted together. She also spoke about
their time spent working for UN aid and his leadership
"I have stood beside Dave in many of the world's most
difficult places and I have seen what he did. I know he has
what it take to change for the better this beautiful country
This morning, many of Mr Shearer's supporters openly pledged
support for Mr Shearer. Others who had previously been
aligned with Mr Cunliffe such as Charles Chauvel, Lianne
Dalziel, Moana Mackey and Louisa Wall refused to comment.
Some MPs also called for a quick resolution to the
speculation - indicating they supported an early vote on it.
Clare Curran was among those who said the issue needed to be
* KiwiBuild: a 10 year programme to build 100,000 basic homes
for first home buyers (less than $300,000). In partnership
with the private sector and community housing groups.
- Two thirds of the homes built in the first 5 years will be
in Auckland. Others will be in other 'unaffordable' centres
such as Christchurch, Tauranga, Nelson, Wellington and
- Cost: a one-off $1.5 billion initial investment, to be
recouped as homes are sold. Will also sell 'housing
- Will require landlords to ensure rental homes are insulated
- Claire Trevett, New Zealand Herald