Ardern’s Bay housing pledge
Babies, apples, students and housing were the feature of Jacinda Ardern’s whistle-stop tour around Hawke’s Bay last week.
It started with the Labour leader addressing about 100 people in the suburb of Maraenui, Napier. She spoke from a stage she shared with local candidates Meka Whaitiri (Ikaroa-Ra¯whiti), Stuart Nash (Napier) and Anna Lorck (Tukituki), as well as former Labour deputy leader Annette King.
Ardern told the crowd Labour would build 240 starter homes in Hastings and Napier. The homes - a mix of state housing and starter homes that will be sold to firsthome buyers at cost - are part of the wider KiwiBuild strategy of building 100,000 affordable homes over the next ten years.
‘‘We expect to be able to deliver terraced three-bedroom starter homes for $270,000, and less than that for one and two bedroom units,’’ Ardern said.
‘‘In 2016, the populations of Napier and Hastings both grew by 700, but only 100 additional houses were built in each. According to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand, Hawke’s Bay has the lowest housing supply in the country. There’s a growing homeless problem,’’ she said to rounds of applause.
‘‘There are up to 1400 people in this area alone who are homeless, who are couch-surfing, who don’t have a permanent place or are living in a place they wouldn’t call a home.’’
There were about 150 people on the waiting list for a state house in Napier, she said.
‘‘What is this? This is wrong. How can you take down state housing when we have people waiting for a home’’.
The biggest cheers came when she spoke about rheumatic fever and the importance of keeping kids healthy.
‘‘We’ll put in the money to healthcare that means you pay $10 less to go to the doctor. That means for half of New Zealanders it will be $8 or less to go to your GP,’’ she said.
Nearly as popular was her promise that youths would have free access to getting their drivers’ licences at school.
Ardern made a quick stop at the Napier Plunket community hub, for the obligatory photos with babies.
She announced that Labour would put a further $10 million toward Plunket so Plunket nurses can make five extra visits to each baby on top of the seven they make already to 18,000 most vulnerable families.
Another quick stop at the Johnny Appleseed pack house in Hastings for a short talk and tour, then she was off.
‘‘What is this? This is wrong. How can you take down state housing when we have people waiting for a home.’’ The Labour leader visiting the Johnny Appleseed packhouse in Hastings.
Ardern with Beth and Rosie Tamis, at Napier Plunket community hub