Phil Twyford  | 
Wednesday, July 31, 2013 – 16:14

Labour has withdrawn its support for the Government’s Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Bill, saying the Bill is flawed and won’t achieve its aim of increasing the supply of affordable homes.

Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says the solution to National’s housing crisis must assure Kiwis that affordable homes will be built.

“That is our bottom-line. While we support the idea of bringing greenfields land in to Auckland, and fast tracking consenting, a string of credible submitters told the select committee that this Bill wouldn’t result in any new affordable housing.

“This is a mess of the Government’s making. Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan would address the urgent need for additional land supply in Auckland but a series of blunders by National have created the need for this ad hoc legislation. First, National’s 2010 RMA changes meant the Unitary Plan won’t have legal weight for three years after notification, instead of immediately. Then National rebuffed Auckland Council’s request for a one-off law change to allow the Plan to take legal weight from September.

“Its inaction has allowed the housing market to descend into a nightmare for first home buyers and sadly this Bill won’t make a blind bit of difference.

“It contains no mechanism to ensure affordability. It is based on the notion that increasing supply of houses at any price will somehow bring down prices — which is trickle-down economics at its most dubious—and given current market conditions, it is highly likely any new houses built in the special housing areas will be expensive, and snapped up by speculators.

“Labour would have preferred to see an approach that required a share of new houses in the special housing areas be affordable, as part of a comprehensive package of housing policy.”