30,000 homes a year needed to alleviate NZ’s housing shortage

By Leith van Onselen

I reported yesterday how a government-commissioned ‘stocktake’ of New Zealand’s housing market revealed that the nation faces a “deeper and more entrenched” housing crisis than previously thought, which is having “devastating impacts” particularly on homelessness.

Central to the problem was that dwelling construction has fallen well short of immigration-driven population growth over the past decade – a point raised repeatedly by MB:

Following the stocktake’s release, co-author Shamubeel Eaqub has questioned whether the Labour-led Government’s promise to build 100,000 ‘affordable’ homes under its ‘Kiwibuild’ policy goes anywhere near far enough. From Interest.co.nz:

Shamubeel Eaqub… reiterated his thoughts that the Government should be targeting 500,000 new KiwiBuild homes.

“If you look at the rate of build we have had since the 1980s, it has been too low and it has been too slow,” he says, adding that at least 30,000 new houses need to be built a year to get on top of New Zealand’s housing shortage.

In response, New Zealand’s housing minister, Phil Twyford, ramped-up ambitions, promising far more than the 100,000 homes promised over the next decade:

Twyford joked that he was “so happy that for once I’m not the most ambitious person in the room,” before telling reporters that the government would actually build “far more” than 100,000 homes.

“I believe using the levers that are available to Government, the balance sheet of the Government to stimulate the building of affordable homes, more state houses building and an urban development authority that can undertake these ambitious, large-scale urban development projects, we will end up building over the new decade far more than the 100,000 Kiwibuild homes”…

[Twyford] let on that the Government is in the process of talking to market players about how it could buy and underwrite “affordable properties” off the plan in private developments.

He also revealed the Government has managed to find some extra Crown land where houses could be built that the National Government had not already bought.

While Labour’s promise to build affordable housing is admirable – and certainly much better than the ‘do nothing’ approach of the former National Government – one wonders why it is also not looking at further restrictions on immigration, which continues to run at turbo-charged levels:

If New Zealand’s housing crisis is being caused to a large extent by an imbalance of demand over supply, then surely cutting demand via immigration is a worthwhile policy option and far easier than the government attempting to build more homes?

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  1. Same problem as Australia. Construction going absolutely stupid with cranes all over the place. 100,000s of empty apartments and houses bought by Chinese. And the government, directed by the developers, continuing on with “it’s a supply problem and we need to build more”. Melbourne and Sydney cbds are basically residential ghost cities as at 2018. Don’t buy the line from government (developers) that it’s a supply issue when they know full well that a new apartment that has an 80% chance of being bought like a Gucci handbag by a foreign Chinese citizen and left empty does not add to “housing supply”.

    • Exactly. It is a very common mistake not to properly define your terms. In this case supply and demand need to be properly defined.
      IF you want decent housing for locals then a dwelling built and sold [to a foreigner] that then remains empty DOES NOT CONSTITUTE SUPPLY.

  2. Just like Australia, NZ needs an effective vacant property tax. With increasing amounts of RE deliberately left empty by investors and long term rentals converting into short term weekend Air’b’n’ stays, it’s never been more important. France recently implemented a 60% tax on untenanted residences in Paris.


    Vacant homes are becoming a global epidemic. Auckland, Sydney and Melbourne should do the same.

  3. Maybe Jacinda is the next Gillard:

    cuts of 20 to 30,000 was the policy, after they get in government, suddenly the “numbers aren’t important “, well they were when you were looking for votes.


    It is so strange that both AUS and NZ deport immigrants for having a medical condition because the condition may cost the taxpayers. But do not immigrants working for $10/hour cost the taxpayers?

    The von Metzinger family, of Dunedin, are about to be deported back to South Africa because Ethan, third from left, has a kidney complaint.


    Sumaya Bhuiyan, a 16-year-old teenager with autistic spectrum disorder, could be deported from Australia

    Her parents, both practicing GPs, have said they can financially support their daughter without the support of the state


    Wonderful stuff. Deporting a couple of doctors because their daughter is disabled while giving out Aussie passports to cooks on $10/hour.

    A few years ago I heard Neil Mitchell on 3AW radio saying that a specialist doctor from Germany is going to be kicked out due to his disabled son. Maybe he got to stay.


  4. Jacinda Ardhern’s government isn’t going to follow through on their promise to cut immigration are they? I was prepared to move there if they followed through. How disappointing.

    • Yep. I have long said that Theresa May is the hero rather than Jacinda. Thus far, it looks like Jacinda did a Gillard.