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The Government should be doing some serious self-analysis following the release of a report that shows its social housing policy is not up to task on the same day another report highlights New Zealand’s on-going rental crisis, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Annette King says.
“The Productivity Commission’s report on housing affordability points out that the Government’s social housing fund, set up to help grow the community housing sector, isn’t up to the task and needs ‘considerable assistance’ within a short space of time.
“It’s a sobering read. There is $170 million worth of applications competing for a measly $40 million in allocated funds.
“This is nonsensical when the government, as part of their ‘cost-saving’ change programme, recently slammed the door on third parties who were willing and able to assist tenants into private rentals if necessary, Annette King said.
“The Government takes a dividend from Housing New Zealand. Over the next year it is forecast to be $73million. Why not invest some of that into community housing?
“We know there’s a housing crisis in Christchurch and in Auckland. Figures released by Trade Me today show the shortage of rental housing is fuelling rent rises across the country. The flow on from that is a lack of affordable homes for first-home buyers.
“As the Productivity Commission chair, Murray Sherwin, says ‘it is fundamental to the success of communities that comfortable, affordable housing is available’, especially at the lower end of the property ladder.
“After four years you would expect National would have woken up to the fact we have a housing crisis, yet Bill English is talking about having a look at the Commission’s report ‘over the next few months’.
“More navel gazing isn’t going to fix a problem that’s here today. The term ‘housing affordability’ is becoming a misnomer. When you have people living in cars, you’re talking unaffordability,” Annette King said.