Property editor of the NZ Herald

Budget 2016: Housing issues ignored: critics

‘Govt more about tourist loos than homes crisis'.
Greens co-leader James Shaw. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Greens co-leader James Shaw. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Lack of Budget housing initiatives earned the Government criticism from many quarters yesterday.

"When New Zealanders need homes, the Government gives us toilets," said Greens co-leader James Shaw.

"The extent of this Government's vision for New Zealand is a few more toilets for tourists, and presumably the rising numbers of Kiwi families who are living in cars. This Budget does not solve the housing crisis. It pretends to," Shaw said.

Chris Kennedy, Harcourts chief executive, also said the Budget had failed to respond to the housing crisis.

"The Budget contains no quick fixes for buyers locked out of the property market. If people were looking to today's Budget to deal with the housing crisis, they will be disappointed. Finance Minister Bill English has plainly said it is the responsibility of local government to free up land for development and speed up the consents process."

However, the Budget has allocated $100 million to free up more Crown land in Auckland for housing.

Connal Townsend, Property Council chief executive, was also disappointed.

"With a shortage of between 20,000 to 30,000 houses to meet the Auckland Plan and an additional shortfall of 13,000 new dwellings every year, we will need much more than that," he said of the Crown land money.

David Whitburn, an Auckland property investor, liked the Crown land money but said Auckland land still needed resource consents because the regime was hamstrung by Resource Management Act rules.

"We need building consents and construction workers. This is not a quick fix and will not deliver in a timely fashion." He called for the Government to consider abolition of the urban limits, infrastructure bonds and more training incentives to produce more tradespeople.

Peter Thompson, Barfoot & Thompson managing director, said the Budget was aimed at social issues. No matter how much money was allocated to Auckland housing, it would go only a little way to resolving major issues facing the city where land prices were rising fast and where there was a critical building sector skills shortage.

Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith said the $100 million "will add momentum to the programme of using public land for increasing the supply of housing".

- NZ Herald

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