In her speech today, the Prime Minister announced a slate of government plans on housing affordability. New land will be freed up for housing but it will not a National-style free-for-all where land would be gobbled up by wealthy individuals and private developers for over-priced, up-scale housing that will exclude most people. Rather, areas will be found that are suitable for large-scale developments and the government will work with local government and not-for-profit groups to build communities with affordable housing.
A shared equity scheme in which the government puts up part of the purchase cost and gets partial equity in a house will assist people who have never owned a home buying a newly built house, such as one built in the developments. Low cost housing and more state houses will also open these new developments to ordinary New Zealanders.
Sustainability should be a priority for these new developments. Ecologically and economically-minded houses should be built around carefully planned public transport with park space and community resources designed to foster a sense of community, and commercial areas to provide employment. For too long, poorly planned sprawl has been permitted that creates soulless suburbs, congested roads, and denies too many the chance to own a house. It looks like this policy will confront the problem.
(Our mates at blogblog say: “Clark builds homes, Key supplies the vacuum“)