Nelson’s housing problems got much worse last year. House prices locally soared by 20% or $100,000 to a new median of $720,000. Rents increased at record rates and much faster than wages.
Social housing waiting lists have quadrupled since 2017. I am being inundated with Nelsonians unable to find a home, struggling to pay rent and frustrated at the lack of help from Labour and agencies like MSD and HousingNZ.
The Government has added fuel to the hot housing market by providing billions of dollars of cheap credit to banks at 0.25% interest. It’s core housing policies have failed because they are based on 3 myths.
Kiwibuild promised 100,000 homes nationally and 1,000 locally on the myth that the Government could build houses faster and at less cost than housing companies. Only 700 have been delivered nationally and none locally.
Labour blamed increased house prices on foreign buyers using the Chinese as scapegoats despite data showing these numbers were negligible. Their ban on foreign buyers has made no difference.
Labour has also peddled a myth that state house sales make the problem much worse. It promised in 2017 to end such sales but has subsequently sold 146 state houses including several in Nelson. Such sales can make sense. As Housing Minister I sold 16 Orchard St in Stoke, to enable our Nelson/Tasman Housing Trust to build six new homes for people in need. Labour pretends spending $20 million on buying the Nelson City Councils 142 flats is a solution, when it just changes the landlord. The solution is growing total housing and all types.
National is ready and willing to assist on the real solutions like freeing up land, enabling more apartments, training more tradies and providing more support for first home buyers and social housing. Parliament needs to act urgently and work together.
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