If New Zealanders needed any more proof of the National Government’s total failure on housing, this Budget has given them all they need to know.
The Budget does nothing to address New Zealand’s acute housing crisis.
There is nothing here for first home buyers.
Nothing to build a single new home. Nothing to make rentals warm and dry.
Nothing to stop offshore speculators driving up prices.
New Zealanders are crying out for a solution to our housing crisis.
A Fairfax poll released on Budget morning said 76% of Kiwis most wanted the Budget to help first home buyers. National ignored them.
And it’s ordinary Kiwis who are going to be paying the price. As Rob Salmond at Polity notes, by 2018/19, 63% of the average gross full time wage will be needed to service the average mortgage. For the already squeezed budgets of New Zealand families, that will be a bridge too far.
And the news is even worse in Auckland – by 2018 the average mortgage will eat up 83% of the average full time wage.
The housing crisis is bad, and the Budget shows it’s going to get much, much worse.
Yesterday, John Key, Bill English and Nick Smith had a chance to fix it and what did they do? What was their solution to the biggest pressure on the budgets of ordinary Kiwis?
Absolutely nothing that will make a difference.
Kiwi first-home buyers could get a better deal from their mortgage broker than the paltry $3500 the Government is offering in reduced building costs.
Average prices in Auckland rose by $6208 dollars last month. The Government’s lifting of tariffs on building materials will save just two to three weeks of Auckland house-price inflation. It’s less than 1% of the price of an average house.
But what about the most vulnerable New Zealanders? Well, Paul Bennett is trumpeting a paltry $30 m over the next three years to boost social housing. With that level of funding, and a $350,000 baseline for each home, it would take the Government 455 years to hit their target of giving housing NGO’s 13,000 new homes.
So on Housing, as on most things in this Budget, we see National playing politics as ususal – not making the changes we need, and hoping people won’t look past the spin.
We can do so much better than this.
Labour will build 100,000 affordable houses, introduce a Capital Gains Tax, impose restrictions on offshore property speculators, reform monetary policy which will help lower interest rates, and make every rental property warm and dry.
Labour understands how important housing is to New Zealanders, we know the pressure it is putting on families all around New Zealand.
We understand the worry of first home buyers finding themselves locked out of the market. We understand the anxiety of parents having to put their kids to bed in cold damp rooms in rental accommodation.
We understand the stress of sitting down with the budget at the end of the week and seeing more and more of it gobbled up by interest rates or rising rents.
In this Budget, New Zealanders asked the government to show that they understood too.
And in response, they got nothing.