National 'misleading' Aucklanders with promises of affordable housing - Labour

Labour says National is 'misleading' Aucklanders with promises of affordable housing.

Official documents show 4555 homes built under National's Crown Building Project over the next 10 years will be classified as 'affordable.' Labour says the 16,000 homes sold at 'market' price will be unaffordable and won't be reserved for first home buyers. The others homes will be social housing.

National announced the policy in May, promising to knock down 8300 "old, rundown houses" and build 34,000 brand new homes. 

Labour's insisting the policy is "just more smoke and mirrors, designed to generate headlines, rather than actually fix the housing crisis".

Communications at the time of National's housing policy announcement lumped "affordable" and "market" housing together.
Communications at the time of National's housing policy announcement lumped "affordable" and "market" housing together. Photo credit: Facebook/Screengrab

Wording on National's social media and press releases lumps together "affordable" and "market" housing built under the scheme.

"Over the next ten years, the Crown Building Project will deliver around 13,500 newly built social houses [and] 20,600 new affordable and market homes," the policy release says.

"These houses will be for our most vulnerable families, for first-home buyers, and for the wider market," Social Housing Minister Amy Adams said at the time. 

Ms Adams indicated 20 percent to 50 percent of houses built in Auckland as part of the project would be affordable. Labour says that's despite the fact she had documents saying just 18 percent would be affordable.

Labour is promising to build 100,000 affordable homes across the country under its Kiwibuild policy, half of them in Auckland.

"The 100,000 homes are all affordable homes," Labour leader Andrew Little told The AM Show. "That price will vary in different places because it will be more expensive in Auckland than other places, and they will all go to first home buyers."

Kiwibuild homes built in Auckland would cost $500,000 - $600,000. Under the policy, houses outside Auckland would be $300,000 - $500,000.

"Even though [$500,000 to $600,000] will be expensive to a lot of people, it's way below what you're paying for a new home in Auckland at the moment. We are strongly of the view we can do that," he said.

Mr Little said the homes would be distributed through a ballot system. He said people who bought through the scheme would be required to hold onto the home for a minimum length of time. The policy requires capital gains to be "handed" back if the house is sold within five years of purchase.

Mr Little said Labour would get costs down through managing building costs.

"Because of long term material supply contracts... as well as using techniques like prefabricated housing [and] modular housing, that can drive the cost right down."

Labour's been haunted by the question of who will build the homes if the Party comes into Government and dramatically cuts back immigration. They say a Dole for Apprenticeships policy will subsidise employers to take on trainees, and their policy of three years free tertiary education will see more people studying construction.