David Shearer wastes no time attacking Nick Smith
Wednesday 23 Jan 2013 9:07 a.m.
Labour leader David Shearer says new Minister of Housing Nick Smith is a "retread from the past without any new ideas".
But Dr Smith, back on National's front bench after a 10-month absence, says it's only his first day on the job and he has a lot of work and reading to do.
"I only found out yesterday morning I was taking up this role of housing," Dr Smith told Firstline this morning.
"Today is not the day for detailed policy announcements."
He says based on his research so far, the main issues are land supply and costs of construction, new infrastructure and complying with local authorities.
"We're going to need to develop a comprehensive package in dealing with all of those if we're going to help Kiwi families reach that dream of being able to own their own part of this Kiwi paradise," says Dr Smith.
"Why is it that building materials are more expensive here than what they are in Australia? Why is it that section prices have become so expensive? Why is it that the houses we are building tend to be the very expensive, large homes rather than those that are able to be purchased by our average Kiwi family?"
Mr Shearer last year announced a 10-year plan to build 100,00 "entry-level" homes priced at around $300,000 per unit. He told Firstline this morning the Government can't just "sit on its hands" and leave housing to the market.
"There are New Zealanders out there who want to be able to get into their own homes and can't because this Government won't get out and intervene in the housing market."
Dr Smith says there is no "magic silver bullet", and suggests the Resource Management Act (RMA) needs looking at.
"It is my view that the RMA is not working for New Zealanders around the issue of housing affordability… it is not just a simplistic notion of only building up or only building out – it's about getting all of those systems – from land supply to the actual construction of the home working more effectively."