The Bay Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - Me­lanie Taylor, Con­ser­va­tive Matt King, Na­tional Wil­low-Jean Prime, Labour Win­ston Peters, NZ First David Wil­son, Democrats

The asked North­land can­di­dates what they’d do to tackle hous­ing is­sues in the Far North.

Long term so­lu­tions to the hous­ing short­age in North­land are sim­i­lar to those else­where with the fol­low­ing re­quired. 1. Tax­ing of un­de­vel­oped land zoned res­i­den­tial. 2. Pre-ap­proved and priced house plans. 3. Gov­ern­ment built state houses rented out on a rent-to-own scheme. 4. Lim­it­ing of land own­er­ship to NZ res­i­dents and cit­i­zens only.

The only short term so­lu­tion that will make any dif­fer­ence to peoples’ living con­di­tions, is the Con­ser­va­tive Party Pol­icy of a Limit on Im­mi­gra­tion that re­sults in net zero im­mi­gra­tion for six months.

There is pro­jected to be 32,000 houses built in the next year, and by lim­it­ing im­mi­gra­tion, we will make 16,000 of those houses avail­able to Kiwi fam­i­lies. Restrict­ing land own­er­ship to NZ cit­i­zens and res­i­dents will re­duce the amount of in­vestors buy­ing NZ prop­erty as ‘‘sou­venirs’’ and mean that NZers are not com­pet­ing in over in­flated house prices.

Na­tional has com­mit­ted to build­ing 2000 ad­di­tional state houses per year for the next three years. Na­tional has un­der­taken a na­tion­wide com­pre­hen­sive re­view of its so­cial hous­ing stock and found many were not meet­ing the chang­ing de­mand.

For ex­am­ple many were three and four bed­room houses and in the wrong ar­eas of the coun­try. De­mand was high­est for one and two bed­room units. We in­su­lated 30,000 state houses by 2013. Na­tional has un­der­taken mod­erni­sa­tion and up­grad­ing of its stock which in­cluded the sell­ing of some stock and con­struc­tion of new stock in dif­fer­ent parts of the coun­try.

I will push for our share of the new stock be­ing built in ar­eas of North­land. In re­gards to rental hous­ing North­land is in the mid­dle of the big­gest con­struc­tion boom we have ever known. Over time the sup­ply will catch up with the de­mand and house prices will level off and rentals will be more ac­ces­si­ble to renters. We in­creased the ac­com­mo­da­tion sup­ple­ment to as­sist low in­come earn­ers.

North­land has a hous­ing cri­sis. There are more fam­i­lies living in garages, cars and even in tents. There is in­creased over­crowd­ing. Rents have bal­looned. Houses are cold and damp, and mouldy houses are mak­ing peo­ple sick. There is a short­age of rental and emer­gency hous­ing.

Home own­er­ship is sim­ply a pipe-dream for many. NZ now has the worst home­less rate in the de­vel­oped world and cold, damp, mouldy homes con­trib­utes to 1600 deaths per year. Labour will in­tro­duce the Healthy Homes Guar­an­tee Bill – life-sav­ing leg­is­la­tion re­quir­ing all rentals to be warm, dry, and healthy to live in.

Pull the plug on Na­tional’s sell off of state hous­ing. Build enough new state houses to in­crease the stock by a min­i­mum of 1000 per year un­til de­mand is met. Build 100,000 af­ford­able first homes for Kiwi’s to buy. Close down the spec­u­la­tors’ tax loop­hole and ban overseas spec­u­la­tors from buy­ing ex­ist­ing houses.

The Na­tional Gov­ern­ment has al­lowed mass im­mi­gra­tion without plan­ning. This has caused a hous­ing catas­tro­phe in Auck­land, which has spun off to North­land and other re­gions.

Auck­lan­ders are now able to sell their houses, and buy a house and rental or two out­side the Su­per City – mak­ing it hard in North­land for renters and homebuyers. Low in­come fam­i­lies are doomed to move from rental house to rental house as own­ers sell prop­er­ties as prices rise. Thou­sands of state houses have been sold off.

NZ First will build more so­cial hous­ing. We would work with coun­cils on their so­cial hous­ing plans. We would pro­vide coun­cils with low cost Gov­ern­ment loans. We would build more houses and our poli­cies would free up land for hous­ing. We would en­sure Hous­ing NZ is well funded.

Land­lords would be given tax in­cen­tives for up­grad­ing work. Na­tional axed the Warm-Up pro­gramme leav­ing thou­sands of houses unin­su­lated. We’ll put in an in­su­la­tion sub­sidy to deal with that.

Us­ing low in­ter­est credit gen­er­ated from our own Re­serve Bank we would set up within the af­flicted re­gion build­ing com­pa­nies us­ing local labour to pre build hous­ing to be lo­cated where they are re­quired. This would gen­er­ate em­ploy­ment and also pro­vide work skills for our cit­i­zens. We would also build new hous­ing on­site where pos­si­ble.

Me­lanie Taylor, Con­ser­va­tive

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