Allison is a digital reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times

Housing 'mess' has spread from Auckland to Tauranga

WARNING: NZ First leader Winston Peters told a crowd at Matua Hall that the Government was "in denial" about immigration and housing. PHOTO/ANDREW WARNER
WARNING: NZ First leader Winston Peters told a crowd at Matua Hall that the Government was "in denial" about immigration and housing. PHOTO/ANDREW WARNER

New Zealand First leader and MP Winston Peters last night told a crowd of 150 people that Auckland's "housing mess" had spread to Tauranga.

Speaking at Matua Hall, Mr Peters said Auckland's problems had become Tauranga's, with the influx of Aucklanders fleeing the housing shortage and creating one in Tauranga.

Property prices and rent prices were going through the roof and he acknowledged those in desperate situations, living in cars, tents and caravans.

Mr Peters said in the last quarter of 2015 figures showed 29 per cent of houses sold in Tauranga were to Aucklanders.

"Other people who can no longer afford to live in Auckland are fleeing south, looking for hope and opportunity," he said.

He referred to recent stories in the Bay of Plenty Times.

"One of the homeless people was reported saying: 'We're hearing about Auckland, Auckland, Auckland - what about the rest of the country?'

"It's obvious, ladies and gentlemen, the housing mess in Auckland has spread to Tauranga.

"This is what happens when a government opens the doors to mass immigration, ignoring the wider problems this brings."

The Government was in denial, he said.

The 2016 Budget would do little to address the problem, and he said the Prime Minister allocated a "modest" $100 million for the development of Crown land in Auckland for residential purposes and did not include anything at all to help young New Zealanders into their first homes.

NZ First would attack the issue, emphasising a cap on immigration.

"First of all we would put a lid on immigration as a first step to rebalance demand with supply," Mr Peters said.

"Then we would establish a Housing Commission to manage the housing market."

The commission would develop a long-term housing strategy and establish a commercial entity to buy up land in areas of high demand for residential development. It would then sell residential sections and completed homes under long-term agreements for sale and purchases to first-home buyers with low interest rates, on terms to make home ownership financially possible for the widest range of income groups, he said.

He said territorial councils had a responsibility for social housing, and they would be required to prepare and implement a social housing plan for their districts.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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