Barry Soper: Fray of housing policies

Nick Smith says owning a home is now more affordable than it was when National came into office. Well that's what a Massey University study tells him. Photo / Michael Craig
Nick Smith says owning a home is now more affordable than it was when National came into office. Well that's what a Massey University study tells him. Photo / Michael Craig

It's as though a bee smoker has been pointed at Wellington's most famous hive and its inhabitants have become dopey.

Either that, or they've had a rush of blood to their antennae and have realised that Labour may have stolen the bricks and mortar march.

Within hours of Labour announcing a two billion buck spend up on state housing, the Minister of Manipulation Steven Joyce was swyping his fingers across his smart phone screen, matching Labour's offer in a Trump like tweet not to take dividends from Housing New Zealand for the next two years.

Just a few months ago the Budget was showing a dividend figure of $92 million over that period. The Dipton Drawler Bill English, who's in charge of Housing New Zealand, is now telling us those figures were out of date. That beggars the question, if that was the case why put them in his official Budget?

And what's happened to the Beehive's dictum to the public service bosses that paying dividends are an important financial discipline?

But hang on a mo, English is now saying no final decisions have been made on the dividend payments, even though he does admit they're unlikely.

Since Labour's announcement we've had the Westie wading in with help for the homeless, which of course has nothing to do with Labour. Paula Bennett's pop-up houses will be up and running by midway through next year, but there are a number of obstacles to overcome before that, not the least the so called Auckland unitary plan, due for release next month, allowing for high density housing.

And a social housing supplier to build the units hasn't even been chosen yet for the modular village planned for three unidentified blocks of State owned land that'll be leased in South Auckland.

So why make the announcement now? The answer would seem to be pretty obvious.

Now the third housing minister has entered the fray in a frenzy.

Nick Smith says owning a home is now more affordable than it was when National came into office. Well that's what a Massey University study tells him.

It's improved by six percent over the past year and they're 40 percent more affordable than they were when Labour left office. We're overlooking the lowest interest rates in 40 years, Smith argues.

Yeah well, that's bound to reassure a heavily indebted first home buyer in Auckland!

- Newstalk ZB

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