Under review: NZ housing

Monday 27 November 2017

Three housing experts have been commissioned to carry out an independent review of the state of housing in New Zealand.

By Miriam Bell

Economist Shamubeel Eaqub, Otago University Professor of Public Health Philippa Howden-Chapman, and Salvation Army senior policy analyst Alan Johnson have been tasked with producing a report by Christmas.

Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford says that the previous government refused to accept the housing crisis and establish the scale of the problem.

He says it has only just emerged that MBIE’s official figures show a nationwide shortfall of 71,000 houses and that projections show house building would fall if not for KiwiBuild.

The new report will provide an authoritative picture of the state of housing in New Zealand today, drawing on the best data available, he says.

“It will put firm figures on homelessness, the state of the rental market, the decline of homeownership, and other factors in the housing crisis.

“The Labour-led government is already pushing ahead with initiatives to make housing more affordable and healthy, including banning overseas speculators, passing the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill, cancelling the state house selloff, and setting up KiwiBuild.”

However, some say the report is a waste of time.

National’s Housing spokesperson Michael Woodhouse says the report is nothing but “smoke and mirrors”.

Government officials have already developed a comprehensive plan on housing issues ranging from increasing supply to growing the social housing sector, he says.

“The housing market is flat to falling and we are in the middle of a record residential building boom. The solutions were implemented by the previous government based on official advice and they are working.”

The new government should leave the building industry and social housing sector alone to on with the job, he says.

But Labour, NZ First, and the Green Party have all committed to tackling New Zealand’s housing market issues head-on.

To this end, Twyford has already committed to getting the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill passed by Christmas.

Additionally, Finance Minister Grant Robinson has confirmed negative gearing will be abolished and the bright line test will be extended to five years.

Read more:

Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill to be fast-tracked 

New investors and property speculators likely to suffer under new rules 

Comments from our readers

On 28 November 2017 at 7:40 am jpaynter said:
"Economist Shamubeel Eaqub, Otago University Professor of Public Health Philippa Howden-Chapman, and Salvation Army senior policy analyst Alan Johnson". These people are not housing experts. They hardly represent a balanced opinion. All are very much in the anti-housing lobby (at least as an investment vehicle). Shamubeel at least has credentials as an economist but shows a surprising naivety on housing, having first decried from the need to buy one for his family before reversing his stance. Philppa appears to be a flake, and set on making her reputation attacking landlords for poor quality buildings, not realizing that it is usually the tenants that make them that way. Having discussed housing with Alan Johnson, he is a nice guy, but again has a one-sided view on the relationship between tenants and landlords.

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