Labour is due to release its big housing policy at conference and I suspect it’ll be either a Kirk style subsidised mortgage scheme for first home buyers or a substantial increase in state housing stocks.
If it’s the former then it needs to ensure that there are tight parameters on what kind of home can be bought. The Kirk era scheme required houses to be new build which helped housing stock and created jobs but is also responsible for some of our sprawl suburbs and sprawl is unproductive and expensive. I’d like to see a similar scheme focus on medium density urban homes.
If it’s the latter then there’s a whole spectrum of ways it could be rolled out from PPP through to more interventionist build. I suspect this opposition would look to tender out a build which comes with its own dangers in terms of risk to taxpayer and creation of monopoly providers among other things. There’s also a risk of creating ghettos and/or sprawl if a lot of thought isn’t given to how they are placed. Which isn’t to say I’m against such a policy but the devil is very much in the detail – these policies can be “left” but done badly, they can also be very much crony-capitalist.
Of course Labour’s policy may involve a third option but I’m betting it’s one of these two. There’s a rumour National has its own housing policy announcement planned for tomorrow at Hobsonville to take some of the gloss off Labour’s. I reckon they’ll be throwing a lot of money into a PPP of some kind. I guess we’ll just wait and see.
Update: National’s announcement was today not tomorrow and it’s basically adding 600 new “affordable” hoses to the Hobsonville development. Word is Labour’s policy is likely to be big. Like ten figure big.