Written By: - Date published: 8:05 am, November 4th, 2017 - 401 comments
Categories: bill english, housing, labour, Media, national, national/act government, nick smith, phil twyford, Politics, same old national, spin, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: henry cooke, stuff
Question time in Parliament used to be really frustrating as National asserted with utter conviction that night was indeed day and black was nothing other than a pale shade of white.
Housing was a particular example where Nick Smith and other ministers laughed at the preposterous thought that there was a housing crisis. If there was one, which was denied, it was all Labour’s fault anyway so why were they complaining.
How times are changing.
Phil Twyford is one new Minister who has hit the ground running. He and his team should be praised for the work they are doing.
And yesterday they scored this compelling Stuff article which laid to rest all the lies and obfuscation that New Zealand has had over the past nine years about housing. And yes there is a severe housing shortage in Auckland and it happened under National’s watch.
From Henry Cooke at Stuff:
Official figures prepared for the new housing minister estimate a shortfall of 45,000 houses in Auckland, with supply of new homes well behind increased demand.
They also show serious shortfalls in Hamilton and Wellington leading to a nationwide shortage of 71,000, with new minister Phil Twyford saying his government have “inherited a disaster.”
The estimates, never publicly released, were included in a briefing for Twyford from his new ministry partially released to Stuff. It compares population increase with new houses actually built – not just consented.
In Auckland as of 1 June 2017 the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) put the shortfall at 44,738 homes, following a huge growth in demand through 2013 to 2015 which a more gradual increase in completed new homes did not keep pace with.
Twyford has not minced his words.
“We’ve inherited a disaster,” Twyford told Stuff. “This shortfall is one of the main reasons we saw house prices double on National’s watch – the average house increasing by around half a million dollars.
“This is the legacy of the past government: spin and denial. I didn’t realise it was this bad.”
The shortfall will prove to be a serious challenge for the new Labour-led Government, who have promised to dramatically increase housing supply.
The article also lays out National’s repeated denials. Even now it claims that there is no crisis.
In February former Prime Minister Bill English rejected an ANZ estimate that put the national shortfall at 60,000 homes as an “erroneous estimate” with estimates that put the shortfall at around 10,000 to 20,000 more likely.
“It’s essentially an academic argument: what we know is we need to get more houses on the ground faster, and the councils are showing a will to go as fast as they can,” English said.
In June of 2017 former Housing Minister Nick Smith rejected estimates of an Auckland housing shortage between 30,000 and 40,000 in Parliament, saying the best measure was price.
“It is now universally accepted across commentators, since about October last year, that house prices in Auckland have not moved an iota. So, I think that is a powerful signal that that supply curve and that strong growth is getting supply and demand into balance,” he said.
National’s new housing spokesman Michael Woodhouse said he hadn’t seen the numbers himself but it was “more hot air from Twyford”.
“If things were so bad, prices in Auckland and Christchurch wouldn’t be flat to falling,” Woodhouse said.
“We are in the middle of the biggest building boom in generations and consents are reaching 13 year highs. Mr Twyford appears to be creating an alibi for when his Kiwibuild programme fails to deliver his promised 100,000 homes on top of the massive build programme the National Government already had underway.”
If you want to see how bad things are in Auckland this graph from the MBIE BIM sums it up succinctly.
Leading to this graph showing the cumulative shortfall in housing:
And if you want to get your blood boiling then watch this:
There is so much to unpick. National’s relentless positivity over a crisis that developed under its watch was clearly misplaced.
It is great that we now have a Minister of Housing who understands the problem and is determined to do something so that kids no longer have to sleep in cars. But it is appalling that a New Zealand Government let a crisis develop and did nothing about it. National’s sense of indifference to the crisis and its refusal to acknowledge that it was happening clearly shows that they were not fit to hold office.