Agreement on affordable homes proves elusive

NZ Herald August 24, 2007
New Zealand has an affordable housing issue which will have long-term negative social consequences for the country, a parliamentary committee heard yesterday, but opinions are divided over how to resolve it. The committee announced in March it would hold an inquiry into housing affordability… Chairing yesterday’s meeting, independent MP Gordon Copeland said housing affordability would be a big issue for next year’s general election. “We really as a society are going to have to face up to how we will solve this.” Mr Copeland said there had been strong submissions with many saying the social consequences of the current situation continuing were unacceptable.Among those making submissions was former National Party leader Don Brash, as chairman of the Centre for Resource Management Studies, alongside its director Owen McShane…Dr Brash told the committee, which included several National Party MPs, it was beyond doubt that tight restrictions on the availability of residential land had a major impact on making housing less affordable. “We all pay a very high price for these policies. Housing is pushed out of the reach of would-be home buyers, with all of the social disadvantages of declining home ownership.”Family First national director Bob McCroskie told the committee tax breaks were needed for first time home buyers. Communities and families benefited when people had a financial interest in owning their own home, he said.