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?