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