Ardern’s Bay hous­ing pledge

The Hastings Mail - - FRONT PAGE - MARTY SHARPE

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.

MARTY SHARPE/STUFF

‘‘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.

MARTY SHARPE/ STUFF

Ardern with Beth and Rosie Tamis, at Napier Plun­ket com­mu­nity hub

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