Andrew Little has announced at the Labour Party’s 100 year special conference that Labour in Government will require Housing Corporation to instead of paying dividends to instead build houses.
From Radio New Zealand:
He said National had used Housing NZ to profit from the most vulnerable, and turned it into a glorified property management company.
Mr Little said the National government took a $118m dividend in 2015/16, which would be enough to build 1500 state houses.
He said not having to pay the dividend would also give Housing NZ money to invest in fixing cold, damp homes.
National has reduced the number of state houses by more than 2500 since 2011.
Mr Little said Labour would stop National’s state house sell-off and commit to substantially increasing the number of state houses.
There is a further policy announcement tomorrow in New Lynn. Clearly Labour has been putting a lot of thought into how to address this crisis and deal with this current scourge on New Zealand society.
Update: There is some comment about the figures in Radio New Zealand’s article. The speech itself did not contain specific figures. Stuff records the speech in these terms:
At Labour’s centennial conference in Wellington, Little announced his party would abolish the requirement for Housing NZ to pay a dividend to the Government each year, changing from a corporation to a ministry to focus solely on providing enough state houses.
Little also said his party would build at least 1000 new state houses each year until there were enough to meet demand, while it would halt the Government’s sell-off of existing state houses.
Last September, it was revealed Housing NZ would pay the Government a $118 million dividend for the 2015/16 financial year – the largest in five years.
Little said the Government was using the state house provider as a “cash cow”, when it should be focused on helping people in need.
“At the moment, the way it’s set up, the way it’s operating, it seems to see itself as just a glorified property manager.”
Changing Housing NZ into a public service, rather than a corporation, would give the organisation more money to ensure existing state houses were warm and dry, while building more houses to meet demand.
“We’ll take away the incentives in the structure and say your job, you’re a government ministry, you go and look after the most vulnerable to provide them housing, which is what the Labour government did 80 years ago.”
Update: The 1,500 figure relates to the total dividend for the last five years, not the last year:
National has taken $523m of profits out of Housing New Zealand, including $118m dividend for 2015/16. That’s enough to have built over 1,500 state houses.”