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Labour’s housing plan is much better

Written By: - Date published: 4:03 pm, August 24th, 2014 - 65 comments
Categories: election 2014, housing, john key, national - Tags:

So National has announced its flagship policy, enhanced assistance for first home buyers through increased grants through Kiwisaver.

It is interesting that policies that Labour introduced and National opposed such as Working for Families, interest free student loans and Kiwisaver have all become mainstream policies and National is now afraid to take away their benefit, although some tinkering has reduced their effectiveness.

And National is using a variation of one of these mechanisms to seek popular support.  This is all part of the process where National wants to appear to no longer be the servants of the rich and powerful although that reality remains.

Some comments based in part on twitter feed responses which I have read so far:

  • The policy spend is small, only $218 million over 5 years.  That is less than $45 million a year.  Labour’s Kiwibuild capital commitment in the first year is $195 million and Universal Kiwisaver will cost $141 million in the first year under Labour’s fiscal plans.
  • The numbers are not huge.  Nick Smith estimates that the policy will result in a further 10,000 grants being made each year.  New house builds will be up to the market.  Labour’s Kiwibuild policy is to build 10,000 houses each year for the next decade.  And a variety of other policies including a Capital Gains tax will gradually ease crushing house prices in places such as Auckland.
  • The policy will disproportionately help those earning more as the size of the grant will be greater depending on income.
  • The policy only addresses demand without the supply of houses being increased and is therefore likely to drive prices up.
  • The extra $20,000 represents about 4 months worth of Auckland’s house inflation rate for the past 5 years.  Get that?  The benefit will soon be lost to continued inflation.

Like many other of National’s policies they are using a slight increase in funding for existing programmes to claim that they are doing something about a significant problem.  But there is no real thinking in the policy and apart from those fortunate to be earning above average wages the policy will not do anything about affordability.

So what would you prefer to have?  10,000 new houses built and many jobs created or more house inflation?

65 comments on “Labour’s housing plan is much better ”

  1. Weepus beard 1

    National backs young Kiwis who are disciplined, save up and want to put a deposit down on a house. National values home ownership. That’s because it provides stability for families, strength for communities and security in retirement.”

    You know who said this, and it’s another lie. If it were true, why has his government presided over the obscene explosion in property speculation from both foreign buyers and domestic amateur landlords?

  2. Enough is Enough 2

    The problem for us on the left is the sales pitch. Key is handing out cold hard cash. It’s simple and tangible. People know what they are getting.

    The green/labour policies are far better and more comprehensive but it involves people putting their faith in government to deliver on their promises to build 10000 houses in a year. That is a big leap of faith for people who have 30 years of been stung by neo liberal governments from both red and blue teams

    • JKV 2.1

      [deleted]
      [lprent: A particularly stupid troll. ]

      • tricledrown 2.1.1

        JKviper it still would be better than Nactional’s Policy of over crowded garages families living out of cars,Nationals policy is only going to make speculators and Bankers wealthy by putting more buyers into a market under supplied!
        Tories not understanding supply and demand Neanderthal thinking from National!

      • tricledrown 2.1.2

        John Key viper labour built a house for you and your mum back in the fifties when Tories said it couldn’t be done !
        Look where you are now we johnny pulling up the ladder because you are in permanent Brain Fade Mode!

  3. LABOUR = 10,000 new houses per year for the next five years. Before we rave and criticise the NATIONAL policy, would it not be wise to add some explanation as to how Labour intends to achieve its aim? For example, 10,000/12 = 27/day. Given the remaining policy development and the first completed house will take 10 months at best we are all of a sudden needing to complete 33/day for the next 50 months. Who, is going to be able to build at the required rate and let’s be certain about one thing, the rate will get worse, not better.
    So, Nationals build will inflame the current situation however Labours build is unachievable so which one will we vote for. More importantly, which policy has the better credibility ?

    • tricledrown 3.1

      Dumbrse under the last labour govt their were 10,000 more house a year being built than now
      living up to your name again.
      modern n building techniques + kitset and prefabricated houses would make it easy to meet this goal we could build 50,000 a year!
      Dumbarse as usual you are full of it!
      The increase i depoosit requirements by National would be undermined by Nationals Dumbarse policy!
      Full of Shit Dumbarse !

      • Herodotus 3.1.1

        Sort your facts out before being abusive , labours policy is to build 100 k affordable homes for 1st time home owners. Labours policy is lacking substance. 3 years ago they were to be built for inxs of $450 k and when pushed the details did not match up given the plans that were presented. Now we hear that land is to be from existing land owned by state housing or to be acquired. So labour is to sell off state land that should IMO be used to build state houses. I hope that the land will be sold at a value representing the value of the land and not discounted/subsidy to make the appearance of a successful policy. There is nowhere I can find zoned land within Auckland for $500k / ha in areas like flat bush this is more likely to be $2m. Then you have to develop.
        Citation for your 50k pa housing. You have no idea the length of time for planning and then to develop with earth works and civics to prepare the land before construction commences.
        Prefab for nz industries would take away resources from supplying the remainder of the construction market, or are you thinking of importing building materials at the cost of nz industry ?

    • dave 3.2

      yes it is you move factory built homes modular construction and automation increased standardisation
      a factory can run 24/7 its very possible german prefads take automation to a new level

  4. Nick K 4

    It’s nonsense for Labour to say they can build 10,000 new homes per year, for 10 years. There is just no capacity to do that. All construction workers are in Christchurch and only about two companies (Fletcher’s and Todd Group) have sufficient size to handle this and even they won’t be able to. If they are, then they will simply be increasing their bottom line with taxpayer money. It is a pipe dream and impossible to perform. During the building boom between 2004 – 2008, there was only one year where this number was achieved. But it’s not just the building work that needs to happen, you’ve also got to grant 10,000 consents really quickly each year for 10 years to even kick this off. And that’s just about impossible without an extra bureaucracy and lots of taxpayers money. Even if it’s managed, the construction work simply can’t happen for the reasons I’ve mentioned.

    Mind you, it’s election time, and just saying it sounds good. As National has illustrated this afternoon.

    • mickysavage 4.1

      There is $191 million in capital set aside in the first year and the figure increases to $881 million in the second year with the figure then being between $1.3 billion to $1.5 billion in the years after that. With this sort of money behind the policy of course it is doable. It just takes a bit of will on the part of the Government to achieve it.

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        That and a quarter million Kiwis who are either unemployed or under-employed. Seems like we have all the resource we need.

      • Dumbrse 4.1.2

        So, the policy is to bankrupt the country (just keep throwing money at it because that’s all it needs?) to build 10,000 houses per year. When will Labour acknowledge that 10,000 new houses per year for 5 years is unattainable. What is the estimate of time required to train the unemployed to a standard that will satisfy the requirements of the building inspectors? That of course assumes they all want to be carpenters, plumbers, electricians etc.

        It’s not the money, it’s the logistics. So, let’s hear how we are going to overcome some of the real hurdles given we are not importing any resources to achieve the aim. Never mind the issues behind the National policy, I’m betting a penny to a pound of goat shit they will actually produce more houses than Labour can hope to.

        • tricledrown 4.1.2.1

          Dumbarse you must be right up Nick Smiths!
          Keep repeating Lie like your leader!
          We could easily build 50,000 more houses a year!
          A friend of mine I work with worked in factory in the UK that built 32 Houses a Week!
          Dumbledore!
          We were building 10,000 more houses a year under the Clark govt!
          Lying and living up to your name!

          • Dumbrse 4.1.2.1.1

            My bad. I didn’t realise the Clarke Govt had a new home building policy that actually built 10,000 new homes each year. My Dumbrse alright.
            Then again, perhaps what you meant is that throughout the country 10k new private homes were built each year without any Govt assistance. If that’s the case then I’m also guessing that under Labours new housing policy that sort of private random building activity will be deemed illegal and everybody will have to build their house under the new labour policy. And, a friend of mine once said…. Never mind Dribbledown I don’t think you can grasp such complexities.
            Enjoy the rest of your evening.

            • tricledrown 4.1.2.1.1.1

              Dumbarse I am saying their isn’t the capacity to build that number of houses i don’t know how you could be any dumber than figure out that simple number!
              Your lying about the number of houses able to be built!
              Your Argument is full of leaks like the leaky building legislation National passed in 1991

            • tricledrown 4.1.2.1.1.2

              Dumbarse suffering from uncontrolled diarrhoea
              Funny you should mention they will be paying for their own homes as they pay their mortgage off that money will be reinvested in building more new home (increasing supply )lowering the cost of the scheme and house prices overall!

        • Colonial Viper 4.1.2.2

          So, the policy is to bankrupt the country (just keep throwing money at it because that’s all it needs?) to build 10,000 houses per year.

          Bankrupt the country?Foreign owners are taking $15B out of this country a year. Yet I haven’t heard a peep from you about that?

      • Herodotus 4.1.3

        5000 houses in Auckland with a floor area of 125m2 with a site coverage for Auckland of 45% = 278m2 so for 5k =139ha then there are roads, reserves storm water areas, new schools etc you are talking about 225ha p.a just for Auckland, even at $500k to purchase the land this is $112m, build 5k dwellings is $1b. This is above the existing land being developed of 5000+ dwellings. This is a great area of land required each and every year. I hope that Kiwibuild is not being sent to the outer areas of Auckland. Eg Wellsford,Warkworth,pukekohe

        • Akldnut 4.1.3.1

          “I hope that Kiwibuild is not being sent to the outer areas of Auckland. Eg Wellsford,Warkworth,pukekohe”

          But there’s an underutilised fucking highway to nowhere just sitting around north of Auckland. Wellsford would be the ideal place to build 10-20 thousand new cheap homes, drive down the price of rent and land in the area.
          Hell lets build them in Omana, that’s the reason for the highway in the first place.

          The list of places you name are the heart and soul of National heaven, BTW you missed Helensville!

    • Colonial Viper 4.2

      the typical National Party “NZ is too useless to do it” crowd.

      This is why people should vote Labour, Greens or Mana, because unlike National, they believe in what our nation can achieve. Without having to import Filipino, Chinese or Irish workers.

    • Te Reo Putake 4.3

      Funny Nick should mention Fletchers. In 1935 the first Labour government worked with that company to build state houses. Pretty sure there were Tories back then moaning it couldn’t be done, too.

      • Anne 4.3.1

        Pretty sure there were Tories back then moaning it couldn’t be done, too.

        They were screaming it from the roof tops just like their National equivalents are today. And Labour did it!
        (wasn’t around but heard about it)

        • millsy 4.3.1.1

          And then all those Tories queued up to move in….

        • tricledrown 4.3.1.2

          Anne Yeah right when pathetic spinning wasn’t getting any traction you ran away crying in your beersies!
          Plan D for Dumbledore Dumbarses now for Nact numpties!

        • tricledrown 4.3.1.3

          Brain Fade Anne like your lying leaders plan!

          • Anne 4.3.1.3.1

            You need sorting tricledown.

            • tricledrown 4.3.1.3.1.1

              Anne that’s all class Anne from the upper class are you!
              That’s very dangerous terriTory you stepping into no doubt you have connections that can carry out your criminal threat’s!
              Your mates at Whaleoil The SIS and GSCB!

              • Te Reo Putake

                You may have lost the plot a wee bit, tricledrown. You’re not making any sense, not least because Anne is not a Tory, let alone threatening anybody.

                • Anne

                  Thanks TRP – more than a wee bit. 🙂

                  Had some abuse from him/her a few days ago too. Misinterpreted something I said somewhere along the track I suppose.

  5. anker 5

    Look the trolls are back! They must be thinking Dirty Politics has gone away.

    Giving people $20,000 is a very lazy dare I say it “dumbrse” idea.

    I guess it what rich people do when they have a problem. Let’s through money at it, rather than attempt to solve it.

    Its supply and demand. We have a housing crisis in Auckland because there is too little supply in part due to Ak growing but also to do with overseas and domestic speculators, who have had a free ride.

  6. Chooky 6

    Lets face it …the housing crisis is one of artificial scarcity and unaffordability…(and not just in New Zealand)…It is a betrayal of the capitalist class of the New Zealand working class and youth. Only New Zealanders who have been living in New Zealand for several years should be able to buy houses or land.

    http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/aucklands-housing-crisis-investor-driven-not-shortage-nzier-bd-156835

    http://tonyalexander.co.nz/regular-publications/bnz-weekly-overview/housing-market/housing-shortage-was-foreseen-and-it-will-worsen/

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10418387/Winston-Peters-points-at-laundering-scheme

    http://campaign.labour.org.nz/overseas_speculation

    …i hope Labour’s legislation will be very tight indeed!…and restricted to New Zealanders who have lived here for a number of years… .because I hear of overseas students not just buying one house but several!…. when many New Zealanders struggle to find adequately paid work and save for one house for their family

    this is increasingly a problem not just in New Zealand

    http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/young-heads-look-to-solve-sydney-housing-crisis-20140703-zss5a.html

    http://www.sydneyalliance.org.au/sydney_s_housing_affordability_crisis_putting_young_lives_on_hold

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2597354/Chinese-fuel-UK-housing-shortage-Far-East-speculators-price-Britons-market-country.html

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2013/07/10/chinese-to-spend-billions-on-american-real-estate/

    • Mike the Savage One 6.1

      Chooky – you raise some interesting and valid points.

      Indeed, we have housing shortage primarily in Auckland and Christchurch, and we know the reasons for that being so in Christchurch. As for Auckland, that is where most new migrants move to and also stay in New Zealand. We have had a stop or at least slow down of New Zealanders leaving for Australia, given the economic slowdown and lack of jobs there. So while more stay here to work and live, the inward migration stream has continued, from various places. There is also internal migration within New Zealand, so that people move from the neglected regions to urban centres, especially Auckland. And then of course we have some offshore buyers and developers here buying up more and more homes, to turn them into rentals. New Zealanders are becoming “tenants” in their own land. All this puts immense pressures on housing and its costs in Auckland, and that is the “crisis” we are talking about.

      What about naming the elephant in the room, that is to slow immigration, so that fewer come here, but not stop migration completely, as we will need some professionals to work in health, construction and horticulture and so forth.

      Yet we have had the highest internal migration gain in 11 years, and we build by far not enough homes for them. It is stupid to just let this continue. And also there should be incentives or expectations for migrants to move to the regions and other cities than Auckland.

      Labour does of course have a better policy on housing than the Nats, that is not hard to do, but some of their policy also seems to be flawed, as only state owned land can be used to build cheaply in Auckland, given the high section prices. That means Housing NZ land and so, and where do they then want to build more state housing? I think they are a bit dishonest, as the 10,000 homes per year are in substantial part probably going to be affordable apartments in blocks of apartments, and not the traditional quarter acre section homes. That may make some sense, but not everybody wants to live in smallish apartments.

      I prefer the Green’s housing policy, although that is also a bit short on details. They at least give clear committed numbers for additional state social housing and third sector housing they want to promote, unlike Labour. Also re Labour’s policy, why do they think it is justified to increase the accommodation supplement there by $50, but not so in Auckland, or other places, where rents have increased a lot over recent years?

      Some stuff to read here:
      https://home.greens.org.nz/policysummary/housing-policy-summary

      Strangely the Greens have not put housing up as a priority on their campaign website, which is a bit of a worry:
      https://www.greens.org.nz/

      Labours summarised housing policy:
      http://campaign.labour.org.nz/ending_the_kiwi_housing_crisis

      In short, all parties leave a bit to be desired, but Greens and Labour certainly have more committed policies, that will serve more in need than National’s smallish bit of housing policy. Also the Nats are hollowing out the purpose of Kiwi Saver, which should be about saving for people’s retirement. Using funds for housing seems to undermine that purpose.

  7. b waghorn 7

    There’s plenty of houses in nz we just need to revitalize the province s . maybe make it more atractive for people to retire in small town nz.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      this is also true

      Cramming 1/3 of NZ pop. in 0.3% the land area (Auckland) is always going to be a hiding to nothing.

      • tricledrown 7.1.1

        Especially as we have seen with earthquake prone NZ!
        we have a lot of underutilized infrastructure in the regions.
        Base Hospitals are needed for aged care that’s the only hindrance!
        Most regions have good base hospitals!

        • Chooky 7.1.1.1

          personally I dont think the regions will welcome competition for housing from new immigrants!

          …it is hard enough for the locals to buy a house given low wages..that is if they are lucky enough to have a job …this idea would not be a winner in the regions!…quite the contrary!.. imho

      • Chooky 7.1.2

        @CV …spreading Auckland’s problems into the regions and other New Zealand cities is no solution at all !

    • RedLogix 7.2

      Yes – I’m a big fan of regional NZ.

      Many of our smaller towns are really nice places to live – especially at retirement age.

      • Chooky 7.2.1

        @ redLogix….yes they are really nice places to live for young New Zealanders and returning New Zealanders precisely because they have NOT been spoiled and corrupted like Auckland…lets keep it that way !

  8. infused 8

    I find the title of this post quite funny. As if it would ever read, National’s House policy is better!

  9. Brendon Harre 9

    There is a really good discussion of the flaws in National’s plans and how Labour might be able to provide 10,000 houses a year for $350,000 here at.

    http://www.interest.co.nz/news/71607/new-package-help-about-90000-lower-and-middle-income-first-home-buyers-over-next-five-yea#comment-786423

    Especially read the comments -they are a little less abusive and more enlightening than some here.

    • Brendon Harre 9.1

      By my count only four bloggers supported National’s housing policy on Interest.co.nz and three of them were wavering. While ten were hard against it. Given that Interest.co.nz is a business website (so more right-wing) and this was meant to be the policy that broke the tide of negativity National have been under, this is a huge failure.

      If Labour are brave they can capture a positive upswing by filling out the details of there own housing policy and continue to take the media attention away from National.

      • Chooky 9.1.1

        +100 Brendon Harre …yes this could be a winner for Labour….like education, availability and affordability of quality housing is a crucial issue for young New Zealanders and returning New Zealanders !

        • Brendon Harre 9.1.1.1

          : ) Thanks for agreeing Chooky. I can see where you are coming from re foreign buyers of land and would agree with you. But if I was Labour I would focus on the positives of new housing supply measures in the coming campaign rather than a clamp down on foreign buyers.

          Labour have already announced that policy, it is now time to tell us how KiwiBuild would work and what other new supply measures they have in mind. These have much more potential to be exciting and attention grabbing.

          • Chooky 9.1.1.1.1

            @ Brendon Harre …personally i dont think it acceptable to have quality New Zealand housing stock being snapped up by foreigners and leaving ordinary New Zealanders out in the cold dependent on developers’ new crap cheap builds…high rise , cookie cutter new subdivisions ( probably built by immigrant labour )..It is socially divisive, will encourage resentment and racism and it is unfair…Labour must be strong on restricting housing for New Zealanders first!

            …..New Zealanders are the owners of New Zealand and we can change the law immediately after the Election to make existing housing built up by generations of New Zealanders available for New Zealanders, especially young New Zealanders ( not overseas students buying up multiple houses or foreign tax evaders, money launderers and speculators) …anything else is a betrayal of New Zealanders!

  10. tanz 10

    why doesn’t the govt simply stop allowing foreign investors from buying up our homes? This is the main cause of the problem, they are the main competitiion against Kiwi first home buyers. Yet the govt does not address that side of the issue;

    • Chooky 10.1

      +100 tanz…that is the crux of the issue

      …and this! ….buying up New Zealanders’ land and property for corrupt tax evasion and money laundering

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10418387/Winston-Peters-points-at-laundering-scheme

      ..why is John Key and NACT allowing this to happen?…which political parties are going to stop this?!

      • Rich 10.1.1

        It is possible that it is mandated from above I guess, there is after all a proxy US-Sino cold war brewing. Now with the qualification that I’m not into economics or an insider on Real Politik it has just occured to me that part of that war might be to extract Chinese capital from China.

        • Chooky 10.1.1.1

          @Rich…possibly…( personally i would be more worried if it was mass immigration and buy up from Israel) ..but whatever the reasons (“Real Politik” or just plain developer and John Key NACT politician business greed)…what is happening is not democratic and it is not in the interests of New Zealanders and especially young New Zealanders, to not be able to afford to buy the housing stock built up by previous generations of New Zealanders.

          It is not moral that overseas investors can speculate on New Zealand housing stocks, use it for tax evasion and money laundering….and create a scarcity of New Zealand housing and make New Zealand housing unaffordable for New Zealanders.

          • tanz 10.1.1.1.1

            agree one hundred per cent, Chooky. No one except Peters seems to want to discuss the overseas investors problem re our housing stock, I find the silence from the main players on this most strange. The Kiwisaver thing is a band aid fix, it will change nothing.

            • Rich 10.1.1.1.1.1

              It will change something, it will push the prices higher, even if only marginally. Great for housing stock investors.

  11. Ad 11

    Key had the moment this afternoon to crush the left like fucking bugs.
    Come out with something bold and big, put a line underneath two hard political weeks, electrify tv news that night as there was nothing else on at all, regain control and momentum.

    Instead, he shows that his team have not the whit to so much as roll up the newspaper and strike.
    Goddamn weak policy platform.

    His capacity to hit back hard seems to have deserted him. Even Ipredict has no change in outcome.

    Ball is now back in your court, Mr Cunliffe, to rule the coming televisual week.

  12. mike 12

    So National introduce a housing policy which is good or bad depending on your perspective. However on the radio news yesterday afternoon Cunliffe rather than making his point about the policy, and reiterrating Labour’s policy tells a blatant lie by saying that the National Govt had introduced the 20% Loan to Value Regulations?
    What is wrong with the guy? This is treating the electorate like idiots. Not that smart.

  13. Ad 13

    Cunliffe and Twyford need to hit back hard this week on housing policy and rollout.
    Ideally on a brownfield site in Auckland where the big pressure is.

    Exceedingly foolish for Key to lead with housing policy with four weeks to go. Almost any other policy and he would have been fine. Cunliffe should focus on housing for the head to head debate, because he will win.

    Fight back in the media hard team!

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