- Date published:
10:24 am, December 21st, 2016 - 196 comments
Categories: bill english, housing, national, useless - Tags: brian rudman, build some houses, housing, housing crisis, nick smith
Brian Rudman in The Herald today has a comprehensive take-down of National’s housing fail:
Government’s new housing ploy – blame the market
Obviously the thought of a grumpy Nick Smith waving hot tongs around the Christmas barbecue in darkest Dipton was too much for best buddy Bill English to contemplate. So instead of sacking him as Minister of Housing for gross incompetence, the new Prime Minister has expunged the role from his list of ministers.
Blaming market forces, he suggests the role of housing minister is Mission Impossible. “In the long run we need more houses … [but] you can’t just push a button and crank them up,” English told Radio NZ on Monday morning. Across on Radio Live he added that “Housing’s a big, complex thing. No one person has one answer, because if they did we would have solved all the problems.”
Unfortunately he hadn’t forewarned Smith of this volte-face, because while he was busy on the radio abdicating any Government role in increasing housing supply, out popped a final press release in the name Nick Smith, Minister of Building and Housing, doing just the opposite.
It proclaimed that with more than 30,000 homes consented in the year to October, residential construction had reached “an all-time high” thanks to “the Government’s programme to increase housing supply”. He added that “this Government is … getting on and addressing New Zealand’s housing challenges.”
Looks like the B-team is going to continue Key’s legacy of policy incoherence.
In other words, for the past eight years there has been a comprehensive programme, led by Smith and English, to try and increase the supply and affordability of housing. Smith’s farewell press release would have you believe it’s been a raging success. The new Prime Minister’s words suggest otherwise. As does the disastrous state of the housing market in Auckland.
Years of under-supply in Auckland have caused the average house price to hit $1 million. An Auckland City Mission census counted at least 228 homeless in the CBD alone.
While Smith plugs the latest 30,161 national annual dwelling consents as a sign of success, Auckland consents made up only 9947 of these. Even if all are built, that is well under the 13,000 new dwellings estimated to be needed annually to meet the city’s expanding population, and does nothing to address the existing 40,000 shortfall.
With annual net migration running at over 70,000, and around half of these immigrants expected to settle in Auckland, Westpac Banking senior economist Satish Ranchhod is putting it mildly when he says “building in Auckland is still failing to keep up with population growth”.
And the final take-home message?
The Prime Minister, in his role in charge of Housing New Zealand, and Smith have spectacularly failed to solve Auckland’s housing crisis over several years. Now, it seems, the “market” is to blame.