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Housing report 'unsustainable, incongruous' - Greens

Wednesday 11 Apr 2012 1:50 p.m.

The report recommends opening up land to build new houses

The report recommends opening up land to build new houses

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The Green Party has slammed the findings of a report into affordable housing, calling its recommendations unsustainable and incongruous.

The housing affordability inquiry by the Productivity Commission found housing was unaffordable, there was too much red tape in housing construction and social housing was not working.

Amongst a list of recommendations, it advised the development of land should be easier and “less constrained”, green space should be allowed to be developed and a capital gains tax should be implemented.

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman says the recommendations will create urban sprawl, resulting in congested, less productive cities.

“Relaxing Auckland’s urban boundary, combined with Government subsidised motorways, will simply lead to further unsustainable urban sprawl and further congestion on Auckland’s roads,” he says.

 “Facilitating urban sprawl is not the way to build highly productive cities where people live close to their workplaces, can easily travel around the city on alternatives to congested roads, and can enjoy high quality amenities within walking distance of home.

Dr Norman says if the recommendations are taken up, people will be spending their time sitting in traffic wasting money on fuel.

He also says the findings regarding a capital gains tax are incongruous to other reports.

 “The Government appointed the Savings Working Group found in 2011 that house prices rose an additional 50 percent from 2001 to 2007 due to the preferential tax treatment of housing including the absence of a capital gains tax on housing.

“The lack of a comprehensive tax on capital gains is keeping the dream of home ownership out of reach for many New Zealanders, especially first home buyers who struggle to get a foot on the home ownership ladder,” he says.

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