DBH merger plans 'ideologically driven and dangerous'

Saturday 17 March 2012

Plans to merge the Department of Building and Housing (DBH) into a ‘Super Ministry' have been branded as ideologically driven and dangerous for the county's building, housing and construction sectors.

Labour Party MP and Spokesperson for Housing, Annette King, spoke to Landlords from Sydney and said "there is no evidence that this will give us a better focus on building and construction in New Zealand."

"The building, housing and construction industry should be very concerned."

King said the decision to merge the DBH, Ministry of Economic Development, Department of Labour and Ministry of Science and Innovation was driven by political ideology, "a typical Steven Joyce manoeuvre."

She also said the plans were driven by Prime Minister John Key and Joyce's "need to make a big announcement."

She said that New Zealand faced a housing shortage and a skills drain as building and construction workers headed across the Tasman to Australia, and that scrapping the DBH as a standalone entity would exacerbate these problems.

"How is this merged department, swamped by bigger agendas, going to hold its head above water?" she said.

King also dismissed the argument a larger ministry would be more efficient, saying a stripped down DBH would inevitably require greater use of private sector consultants paid "hundreds of dollars an hour."

"There is a huge crisis in housing, and they are focusing on the wrong things," King said.

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