Treasury papers just released show National’s Housing Infrastructure Fund to be everything you expected it to be: a quickly cobbled together headline.
For National’s party conference they needed to come up with a big sounding number so that they could appear to be doing something about Housing.
Treasury and other ministerial advisers all said it wouldn’t do anything in the short-term, it might do something to help a little bit in 5-7 years. Infrastructure does need to be built for new houses (it is one constraint), but it wouldn’t affect Auckland housing supply and prices alone, or any time soon.
Of course right from the off it was obvious it wasn’t what it appeared. It wasn’t $1 billion dollars toward fixing the problem, it was a loan. So real cost is just the interest. (“20 million towards Auckland’s Housing Problem” doesn’t sound as good though).
And as Phil Goff has pointed out they could use $17 billion of the $1 billion loan available, just for Auckland infrastructure. $1 billion sounds big, but that’s less than 1000 houses in Auckland these days…