Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

100 years on, Labour plans big hit on housing as it fights for future

The biggest of the three announcements by Andrew Little is expected to be pitched at Auckland home buyers. Photo / Mark Mitchell
The biggest of the three announcements by Andrew Little is expected to be pitched at Auckland home buyers. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Labour will mark its 100th anniversary this week with a hat-trick of announcements on housing, which leader Andrew Little is promising will show up National's plan as "piecemeal".

The party turns 100 tomorrow and to mark the occasion, the Herald presents a three-day series on the state of the party, putting the spotlight on Mr Little and speaking to experts, supporters and people on the street about Labour's future.

Housing is a nod to the party's past - it was Labour that introduced state housing to New Zealand. It is also the area in which Labour has managed to get the most hits on the Government as it heads toward the 2017 election. Mr Little said they would form a comprehensive package from social housing, homelessness and housing affordability.

The biggest of the three announcements, scheduled for Sunday, is expected to be pitched at Auckland home buyers - Mr Little told the Herald the most correspondence he got on one issue was parents concerned about their adult children's ability to buy a home.

That could include some form of urban development agency charged with opening up land in Auckland and a further boost to Labour's KiwiBuild policy to build 100,000 houses over 10 years.

Labour's centenary coincides with shockwaves in overseas democracies - from the Brexit vote in Britain, to the Australian Labor Party's surprisingly successful campaign.

The Australian election has been described as an "up yours" from voters to the major parties because one quarter of voters gave their first preference votes to minor parties - the highest ever in Australia.

Those results have people questioning whether social democratic parties are still relevant today.

Mr Little said the result in Australia showed that focusing on "bread and butter" issues such as housing, jobs and health still resonated with voters. But he believed the result in both Brexit and Australia showed a level of voter frustration about the "political machine".

- NZ Herald

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