Auckland housing crisis: Regional, central Govt at odds

Auckland housing crisis: Regional, central Govt at odds

It's a well-known fact some Aucklanders are struggling to keep their heads above the housing crisis tide, but who should be handing out the life jackets -- regional councils or central Government?

That's what National and Labour couldn't seem to agree on during The Nation programme today.

Finance Minister Bill English blames Auckland Council for the housing shortage; he says it is responsible for the land, housing and infrastructure supply in the city, while central Government provides rental subsidies. 

"The Government can't build a house in Auckland unless Auckland City Council frees up the land, provides the subdivision consent, processes all the consents, provides the building consent and allows the house to be occupied," he says.

"The Budget was never going to be the vehicle for fixing every housing problem, because you can't buy your way through the Auckland housing pressures."

But Labour finance spokesperson Grant Robertson disagrees. He says National is at war with Auckland Council and citizens are the ones being left to deal with the repercussions.

Mr Robertson says Labour is committed to helping Auckland Council fund infrastructure for more housing and says it's willing to borrow to do it.

"I think Auckland Council and Aucklanders generally would be quite surprised to learn today they're an independent country, because that's what it sounded like when Bill English was talking today.

"This is something the Auckland Council and the Government should have been working on together for a very long period of time, and I think Bill English shoving every problem to the Auckland Council is unacceptable."