COMMENT:

The housing crisis developed over decades and won't be solved overnight.

Our KiwiBuild target of building 100,000 homes was overambitious, but at least it was a start. It led to contracts being signed in places where there was little first-home buyer demand.

The Government has put up its hand and said "we got it wrong", but by no means does this mean we are giving up. Conversely, we have taken a new approach to housing to ensure more low- and middle-income New Zealanders can buy their own home.

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Regarding KiwiBuild, we will focus on building as many homes as we can, as fast as we can and in the right places.

Homes that haven't yet sold will be released to the open market, allowing us to reuse the government capital to get more developments underway where there is a clear demand.

But this is only one way we are helping first-home buyers.

We've set aside $400 million from the KiwiBuild appropriation for a progressive home-ownership scheme, like shared equity, to help more people buy their own home.

The scheme will mean struggling families will be able to buy a share of a house, reducing both the deposit needed to get a mortgage, and their repayments. The scheme will mean that, over time, the family can buy further chunks of the mortgage until they own the home outright.

But that's not all.

We are also reducing the deposit required for a government-backed mortgage to 5 per cent, as well as enabling family and friends to buy a house together, each using their $10,000 First Home Grant and their KiwiSaver contribution.

Taken together, these changes will help more people who have been locked out of the market access innovative support to buy a home.

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These changes are just part of the Government's plan to help every New Zealander have a warm, dry place to call home. The housing crisis is a complex, long-term challenge. But we've started work across multiple fronts to tackle it.

As soon as we came to office, we banned offshore speculators from our housing market. That slowed the runaway house prices of earlier years, making them more affordable for Kiwi families.

We're also increasing the supply of housing to help Kiwis into homes. Building consents are at a 45-year high. At the same time, we will continue to build more public housing per year than any government of the past three decades. Housing New Zealand is building about four new houses a day.

And we're making life better for renters, too. We changed the law so all private rentals have to meet minimum standards to be warm and dry, and we banned unfair letting fees.

Stuart Nash is the MP for Napier and Minister of Police.