Subject: New Zealand Housing Minister Hon Chris Carter Speech on Housing Supply - Demographia Response
(For immediate Release)
30 October 2006
“NEW ZEALAND HOUSING MINISTER APPLAUDED FOR FOCUS ON HOUSING SUPPLY.
SUGGESTED SOLUTIONS WON’T WORK.”
On Monday 30 October 2006, the Hon Chris Carter, New Zealand Labour Government Minister of Housing addressed (refer
attached speech above) the Local Government Housing Affordability Forum in Wellington. He stated that the Government
recognises that the lack of housing supply is the core problem and outlined some suggested solutions that need to be
He also said that the purpose of his speech at this stage is to encourage greater public discussion, prior to policy
options being considered.
“Chris Carter must be warmly congratulated for the open approach he is taking to this issue and being clear in that the
Governments focus is very much on increasing housing supply” said Hugh Pavletich, co author of the Demographia
International Housing Affordability Survey www.demographia.com . adding “But regrettably, his initial suggested mix of
interventionist solutions will not work. Put simply, urban land supply must be opened up.”
Hon Chris Carter outlined the seriously deteriorating New Zealand home ownership levels, which are now below those of
the United Kingdom, United States, Canada and Australia. In 1991 our ownership level was 74%; in 2001 it had slumped to
68% and is now estimated to be 65%, with Auckland just 61%. The latest Census information due for release 9 December
will clarify the situation.
New Zealand’s housing stock is approximately 1,400,000 units, which suggests that in less than five years around 43,000
houses have been priced out of home ownership, forcing people to rent.
“These sorry figures indicate that 120,000 New Zealanders have been denied the right to the opportunity of homeownership
in just five years. Since 1991, a shocking 352,000 people have been thrown in to the rental market. This represents
populations in excess of Christchurch and Manukau” said Mr Pavletich, adding “No wonder our crime statistics are up and
social indicators are down, as young people in particular, are being denied the opportunity to participate fully in our
The 2006 Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey www.demographia.com of the United Kingdom, Republic of
Ireland, Canada, United States, Australia and New Zealand released January this year, identified 24 urban markets of the
100 surveyed as currently “affordable”, in that people did not have to pay any more than 3 times their annual household
income to house themselves.
New Zealands position, as outlined within the Ministers speech and the Survey, is that New Zealanders housing is at in
excess of 6 times incomes. In 1991 New Zealand housing costs were near 3 time’s household incomes.
“It is important New Zealanders realize that these inflated prices creating this unnecessary social havoc, are
artificial and caused simply by inept local politicians and planners, for misguided ideological reasons. All they need
to do is ensure an adequate supply of land to solve the problem” said Mr Pavletich.
New Zealand’s land area is 269,000 square kilometres of which substantially less than 1.4% is urbanised. To provide
sufficient land for further urban development would require 29 square kilometres or one hundredth of one percent of New
Zealand’s land area each year.
“We couldn’t urbanise any more than a total of 2% of our total land area over the next 50 years if we tried”said Mr