Housing crisis? Leave the market alone - Mark Richardson

Does New Zealand face a housing crisis? The AM Show host Mark Richardson isn't convinced. 

The Government announced a $100 million plan on Friday to combat homelessness, including a $37 million investment to increase housing supply.

"People say housing crisis and this was such a big cornerstone of the election, but we have to split that: I think we have an accommodation crisis, especially in New Zealand's biggest city (Auckland)," Richardson said on Friday. 

"Housing crisis? No. The market is what it is - leave it alone."

An independent report initiated by the Labour-led Government recently indicated that New Zealand does face a housing crisis. The number of renters has surged, rent prices are outstripping wages and thousands are in need of state housing, the report says. 

Richardson said people who are set on living in affluent areas of New Zealand, particularly in Auckland, should consider more affordable areas. The Auckland Council revealed in November last year that the average Auckland home is worth $1 million. 

"If you want to live in a great area of Auckland then be prepared to be a renter, because you're paying for accommodation," Richardson said.  

"When you buy a house you're also paying for accommodation. If you want to own a house, then perhaps you should live in a different area."

The AM Show co-host Amanda Gillies said the problem is people can't get into the Auckland housing market - even those who earn decent salaries. 

"Look at me, I earn good money and I've got no debt but I can't afford to buy a house," she said. 

"But also, I've got to buy in a certain area, that's just what it is. The problem is the average house price is $1 million."

Duncan Garner said it's outrageous that houses in Auckland can generate more wealth in a day than their owners do earning a salary. 

"Your house is ticking away earning more money than you did at work earning your salary," he said. 

Gillies said the house she lives in went up close to $100,000 overnight.

"It didn't change other than get older. It's ridiculous." 

The Government says it is focused on providing more affordable houses for people and getting people off the streets. Each year, 6000 children are admitted to hospital with diseases linked to poor-quality housing, while pensioners are reportedly turning themselves into hospitals in order to be fed after spending their money on rent. 

And with winter coming, these problems are expected to escalate.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford recently announced the first of the Government's KiwiBuild homes - a project where 3000 to 4000 homes are expected to be built on 29 hectares of land at Unitec's Mt Albert campus in Auckland, about 9km from the CBD. 

"There will be a mix of affordable KiwiBuild homes for first-homebuyers, public housing and open market houses," Mr Twyford said.  

"We want to create a place for people to put down roots and to live, work, learn and play, for generations to come."