Brash To Lift Lid On Housing Affordability Crisis

Published: Fri 2 Sep 2011 05:30 PM
Brash To Lift Lid On Housing Affordability Crisis
ACT Party Auckland Regional Conference, 1.45pm Saturday 3 September, Squid Row, 224 Symonds Street, Auckland
In a major campaign speech to the ACT Auckland Regional Conference, Party Leader Don Brash will expose the alarming reality that home ownership has now become a pipe dream for many New Zealanders.
The 'quarter-acre paradise' that used to describe every Kiwi's aspiration is now a myth, with housing now unaffordable not just for the young and the poor, but for middle New Zealanders generally.
Noting that relative to incomes it is now more expensive to buy a house in New Zealand than in Great Britain, Dr Brash labelled the situation bizarre and entirely avoidable, especially considering how sparsely populated New Zealand is.
“Only 0.7 percent of New Zealand is urbanised, yet we have some of most unaffordable housing in the English-speaking world. Who would have thought it would be harder to get on the housing ladder here than in the US, the UK, Canada or Ireland?
“Relative to incomes, house prices have doubled since the introduction of the Resource Management Act in 1991 - that’s a staggering increase and has seen home ownership decline in every census since 1986.
“ACT wants to reverse this alarming trend and make housing affordable for all New Zealanders. A particular concern is our young people – the very people we are desperately trying to keep from abandoning New Zealand. This is just one more strong incentive we're giving them to leave."
Dr Brash said the onset of unaffordable housing was a direct result of the myriad of constraints placed on what and where we can build.
“Take the example of Auckland’s Metropolitan Urban Limit. Land immediately inside the MUL is between eight and 13 times more expensive than land right beside it across an arbitrary line.
“This is policy straight out of the ‘so stupid it’s hard to fathom’ file.
“Auckland planners’ latest buzz term is ‘densification’, but a recent survey shows young people’s number one fear is apartment living – it’s no wonder they’re leaving.
“Housing affordability is a major part of a ‘long slow emergency’ that will eventually cripple New Zealand if bold action is not taken,” Dr Brash concluded.
In his speech, Dr Brash will set out the origin of the housing crisis and outline ACT’s policy for how it can be reversed.

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