The housing shortage in New Zealand has reached 60,000 and is growing by 40 houses a day, according to documents released to the Labour Party.

The figures are based on estimates by ANZ Bank and were included in a Treasury paper. ANZ estimated that the gap between supply and demand was 4000 houses each quarter.

Labour leader Andrew Little said the shortage reinforced the need for a major state-run building programme.

The Government confirmed in October it would play a greater role in the private housing sector and build tens of thousands of houses by redeveloping Housing New Zealand land.

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Labour says that plan falls short of addressing the supply gap and does not guarantee affordable housing. Its own policy is to build 10,000 affordable houses a year for 10 years and sell them to first home buyers.

"When there's been housing crises in the past, governments have stepped in and built, or helped to build, good, basic homes to get families on the property ladder and stabilise prices," Little said.

"Every day we wait, the housing shortage grows by over 40 houses. The results are all around us - out of control prices, speculators, skyrocketing rents."

It comes after Statistics New Zealand reported a fall in the number of houses being built for the second month in a row.

The number of dwelling consents being issued fell by 7.2 per cent in December and 9.6 per cent in November.

Around 9900 dwelling consents were issued in Auckland in 2016 - well short of the 13,000 estimated to be needed to keep up with the growing population.