Greens' housing policy 'Monopoly' - Key
Friday 25 Jan 2013 5:34 a.m.
John Key says keeping interest rates low and improving the release of land for building are better solutions to the housing crisis (file)
The Green Party's new rent-to-buy housing policy has been rubbished by Prime Minister John Key who is likening the party's economic plans to a game of Monopoly.
Greens co-leader Metiria Turei unveiled a new housing package, aimed at lower income families, at Ratana Pa on Thursday, where she was attending annual celebrations of the birthday of church founder and prophet TW Ratana.
The Greens are proposing to team up with Labour on a proposal to build 100,000 compact, entry-level homes, each worth $300,000, and place those houses in a progressive home ownership scheme, where a family would gradually pay off the building cost to the Crown before purchasing equity in the home until they own it outright.
The Greens have provided figures showing weekly costs for a progressive ownership home could be more than $100 a month cheaper than a mortgage, and could be paid off within about 25 years.
The scheme would be open to first-home buyers with children, who meet certain income and assets criteria.
Mr Key, who arrived at Ratana after the Greens, scoffed at the idea.
"The Greens haven't announced a housing policy, they've just announced the next version of Monopoly," he said.
"They want to print money, now they want to build houses - what's next?"
Mr Key says keeping interest rates low and improving the release of land for building are better solutions to the housing crisis.
He called the Greens' suggestion that progressive ownership homes could be built in Auckland for $300,000 "disingenuous".
"You can get a property in Auckland for $300,000, but I think you'd have to ask the question of 'what does that property look like?'"
However, Labour leader David Shearer says he is interested in looking more closely at the policy.
"The rent-to-buy scheme has got some good opportunities for people who are on lower incomes getting into their own homes, and I support the goal. It's whether the actual implementation of it is possible," he said, adding that the plan would have to be economically responsible.