National's 'pop-up' solution to housing crisis

National's 'pop-up' solution to housing crisis

Pop-up temporary houses could soon be erected on vacant government-owned land in Auckland.

It's a potential housing crisis solution revealed by Prime Minister John Key, who's at the National Party's annual conference in Christchurch.

However, housing's not the only thing on Mr Key's mind; there's his bid for a fourth term in Government, and he's not ruling out the resurrection of Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters. 

National is celebrating its 80th birthday conference in style - a fancy gig at a fancy venue. It's a stark contrast to Auckland's homelessness crisis, and housing crisis.

It's a crisis for the Government, and Mr Key revealed part of his solution today - pop-up housing. That's right, pop-up or prefabricated buildings, and Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett has big plans.

"I want permanent solutions, but if I have to come up with some temporary ones for those that are either in emergency situations or because I need to re-house them while those new builds are going on, that's what I see as some of the advantages of being in that pre-fab, modular housing space," she says.

They'd pop up on vacant government or council land earmarked for future infrastructural development.

"We'd probably like to test it with 100 to 150 houses. So let's test it, let's see how quickly, let's see if they're fit for purpose and everything else, and then we could roll out further as we wanted to," she says.

Not everyone's a fan, with Labour's Phil Twyford calling the idea desperate. There's also another potential crisis on the horizon for National - New Zealand First leader Mr Peters. He could be Deputy Prime Minister, again, after the next election, as Mr Key refuses to rule him out.

"In 2017 we have an election, and what we ultimately have to do is put together a Government," Mr Key says.

It's a far cry from 2008, when he ruled that out: "It's a matter of political principle. I could never work with Winston Peters because I couldn't trust him."

Mr Peters, unsurprisingly, didn't want to comment on Mr Key's olive branch, but no doubt he's grinning; the king-maker could be back in the throne.


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