Labour leader David Shearer met with Auckland Mayor Len Brown
for an hour today to talk about land availability as part of
a plan to tackle the country's housing affordability problem.
Mr Shearer visited the New Zealand Housing Foundation, a
charitable organisation building affordable housing at
$300,000 or less and in a similar way to Labour's proposed
He visited 80 houses that have already been built in Glen
Eden and Mount Roskill, as well as more houses under
construction in Mangere.
Mr Brown discussed the city's housing woes with Mr Shearer
and Labour MPs Phil Goff and Annette King.
He said Mr Shearer made a valid point that housing is a
complex issue that cannot be solved overnight.
"The Labour Party has made a very useful and helpful
contribution to the debate about housing affordability in
Auckland and across the country.
"We need to explore all options and work with all sectors of
the community to find solutions."
Mr Brown said Auckland Council would seriously consider the
KiwiBuild affordable housing policy, launched at the Labour
Party conference a week ago.
Prime Minister John Key said he thought Labour were in
"fantasy land" over their proposed policy.
"You probably can build something for $300,000 but not at the
level of expectation that those first-home buyers that will
be hearing that policy think you can build."
He said the houses would be very small, and miles out of
"The only place you can buy a section for about $50,000 is in
places like Lumsden. I suspect if all the 100,00 homes were
built there the price would go up.
"They are proposing 10,000 homes a year. I think there were
535 built by the top three residential building companies in
Auckland [in a similar timeframe]."
Mr Key said the policy could cost more than $1.5 billion and
would not meet the expectations of the first-home buyers.
"If Labour's track record is anything to go by - it will be a
combination of both."
Labour's plan is to build 100,000 basic homes over 10 years -
a scheme David Shearer said would create jobs as well as give
first-home buyers in areas of high house prices, such as
Auckland, a foot in the door.
Mr Shearer said it was the largest building programme in 50
years, and would create up to 2,000 apprenticeships.
The homes would cost $300,000 or less, according to Labour.
Two-thirds of the homes built in the first five years would
be in Auckland. Others would be in 'unaffordable' centres
such as Christchurch, Tauranga, Nelson, Wellington and
Under the KiwiBuild policy there would be a one-off initial
investment of $1.5 billion, to be recouped as homes are sold.
Labour also proposed selling 'housing affordability bonds.'
The affordable housing scheme is intended to be
self-sustaining within the first term, as the sale of one
batch of houses would finance the development of the next.
"This represents a fraction of the $41 billion National has
borrowed over four years and is substantially less than the
$12 billion National has committed to Roads of National
Significance. Because this is capital investment, it will not
affect our path back to surplus," said Mr Shearer at the
Labour Party conference.
The programme would be administered by Housing New Zealand
but the construction would be completed by the private
Mr Shearer said on TVNZ's Breakfast programme today (Mon)
that Aucklanders would have to move away from the idea of a
house on a quarter-acre section.
"It's going to have to be some terraced houses, some smaller
sections - we're talking about affordable homes that people
can get their first chance at owning," he said.
Mr Brown said the Productivity Commission's report suggesting
releasing more land for housing was just part of the
"Auckland Council does not agree that releasing more land is
the 'silver bullet'. Regardless of land release, a large
proportion of households will not be able to afford what the
market can deliver. The issue is far more complex.
Interventions across a wide spectrum will be required."
The Government have reinstated plans to allocate a percentage
of houses at Hobsonville Point in Auckland as affordable
homes priced under $485,000.
Up to 300 houses would now be sold for less than $400,000 and
another 300 would be sold at prices between $400,000 and
In 2009, 100 of the 3000 homes at the development were tagged
as affordable under the Gateway scheme, giving lower-income
first-home buyers a helping hand.
Only 17 were sold, 14 for less than $400,000.
- Kate Shuttleworth of APNZ