Blog: Labour’s Birthday Housing Policies

In the past week, the Labour Party has announced a number of housing policies that have been both applauded and criticized. Check out our breakdown of the two main policies below.

With concerns for inequality, representation and social fairness continuing to grow—public frustration having been demonstrated recently in the surging support for Labour parties in the UK and Australia—Andrew Little, on the eve of New Zealand Labour’s centenary, has revealed a plan to help combat New Zealand’s endemic housing crisis, upholding the party’s strong historical stance on housing policy, marked notably by the pioneering 1936 state housing scheme which saw to the construction of some 5000 homes.

Combining historical precedent with public opinion, Labour’s proposed Emergency Housing Plan aims to provide the first, necessary steps in combating the current housing crisis, seeking to address the problem of homelessness evidenced by the number of New Zealanders living without habitable accommodation, as temporary residents, or in commercial and communal dwellings having risen to nearly 42,000 as of 2013; with 4,200 classed as severely housing deprived.

Andrew Little has also proposed a number of possibilities that may alleviate the concerns of New Zealand renters and buyers. The most significant Labour’s policies include improving upon their 2013 KiwiBuild Policy, which requires working with the private sector.

Little criticized National for turning Housing NZ into a “cash cow” and taken a net amount of $523 million from it in dividends. There are now 2500 fewer state houses than in 2011, Little stressed, and that with the housing crisis exacerbating this, the dividends being paid to the government should be used to build more state houses.

The Auckland Unitary Plan is another hot topic that has been brought up during the discussion housing policies. The plan will be revealed later in the year and will cover a range of approaches towards housing.

Is this feasible? Should the government adopt these policies?
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