Excellent piece on Saturday from Tim Watkin at Pundit:
Housing game-changer: Spreading the blame
Housing remains the government’s biggest weakness and so National is redoubling its efforts. No, not to build houses, but to contain the political damage
I can’t give you a precise day or hour, but some time in the past fortnight, National has admitted defeat over Auckland’s housing crisis. You can see it in the calculated attacks on Auckland Council and the lack of action in the Budget; the government’s moved into ‘managing failure’ territory.
What’s become clear is that Auckland’s problem is no longer a land supply problem, it’s a house supply problem. The Special Housing Areas have opened up over 50,000 sections according to the government, but only 1000 houses have been built. Even Auckland Council estimates six and a half years worth of land is ready to build on. What’s missing is a will (or requirement) to build, tradie capacity and, arguably, a government commitment to a mass building programme.
Instead, what we’ve got from National seems to be an admission any fix on Auckland house prices is years away and what matters to them now is spreading the blame.
What’s clear is that National, as is their well worn tactic, will do its best to ensure the blame gets shared around. Bugger the relationship between Auckland and Wellington, they will blame the Auckland Council at every opportunity so that any voter anger directed at the government becomes ‘a plague on all their houses’.
Ultimately, National may have to accept the inevitability of a government building scheme, swallow that dead rat and promise that themselves.
But for now, National’s focus is on buying time and that means spreading the blame.
As usual the Nats are all about personal responsibility, as long as the person is someone else. Go read the full piece at Pundit for plenty more.