Labour expected to announce 100,000 affordable homes

Labour Party leader Andrew Little (Simon Wong)
Labour Party leader Andrew Little (Simon Wong)

The housing crisis has seen the Labour Party bring forward a major policy announcement about its proposed solution.

It is expected to reveal plans to build more than 100,000 affordable homes.

Rising house prices mean Housing Minister Nick Smith is under rising pressure. But when asked if he would resign should the average Auckland house price reach $1 million, the minister said "no".

"Ministers don't control house prices," he says.

National gave its solution on Sunday - the $1 billion infrastructure fund. Today's figures, though, put it back on the receiving end.

"House prices are going up faster than the Government would want," says Prime Minister John Key.

"What they've turned up is a hodgepodge of ideas fiddled and faddled around and actually got nothing meaningful," says Labour Party leader Andrew Little.

Now it's Labour's turn. It turns 100 years old this week, and will celebrate with a major housing announcement that Mr Little calls a "comprehensive package".

While giving few details, Labour is set to rejig its old KiwiBuild policy, seeing it go back into its history with a major government building programme - the taxpayer funds the building of affordable housing upfront, then sells them on.

Mr Little says Labour will build "a lot of houses" in Auckland.

It's expected Labour will announce it will build more than 100,000 affordable homes, and it's not ruling out removing "negative gearing" - a tax write-off for landlords - and also expanding the "Bright-line" tax so it catches and taxes more speculators.

"If the question is, do I have a great deal of sympathy with the speculators and the land backers and the others who are just looking for the capital gain? No, I don't," says Mr Little.

This really is Labour's time to shine as the super-heated housing debate gives the Opposition a rare chance to really engage with the public.

With this policy announcement, poll ratings mean that Labour and Mr Little are under huge pressure. This could be now or never.