Housing Minister Nick Smith may be a new minister in a hurry, but he needs to take his time to read his papers before opening his mouth on affordable housing, Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said today.
Minister Smith has claimed that a newly released Treasury paper shows a government-led building programme would crowd out private developers leading to minimal increase in housing supply and little effect prices. In fact, the paper concludes that a government programme to build affordable homes would not conflict with private developers' construction of more expensive houses.
"Minister Smith is just wrong when he claims that Treasury found a government-led affordable housing programme wouldn't work. It actually says government can increase the supply of affordable homes, which will give families a pathway to home ownership," said Mrs Turei.
"The Treasury paper states 'government interventions aimed at increasing the supply of lower quality housing tend to result in a larger overall increase in the total housing stock, as there is a smaller offsetting reduction in the private sector supply of dwellings than if the government intervenes to develop moderate quality housing'.
"That's Treasury's way of saying that the government building affordable housing for young families does not 'crowd out' private developers, who are targeting the more expensive end of the market.
"Private developers are not building the affordable homes that young Kiwi families need. Instead, they build more profitable, expensive houses.
Only the government has the financial muscle to drive the building of affordable homes. Past Governments did it with State Housing and State Advances. It's time for government to come back into the affordable housing market.
"Kiwis are sick and tired of hearing National's excuses for doing nothing while home ownership becomes a more and more distant dream for young families. It's not good enough for Minister Smith to claim that more tinkering with the RMA and more sprawl will someday have some effect on house prices.
"Families need a pathway to home ownership now. That's what the Greens' Progressive Ownership policy provides. By giving young families access to the Crown's low cost of capital, Progressive Ownership gives those families a hand-up into owning their first home," said Mrs Turei.