Can't solve the housing crisis without crashing the price of housing - Brash

Don Brash says it will be difficult to fix New Zealand's housing crisis without crashing the price of housing and wiping out many Kiwis' retirement plans.

His comments come after Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters said he wants to get house prices to no more than five times the living wage - so around $213,000. Presently the median price of a house nationwide is $550,000, and in Auckland it's $870,000.

"The price of housing has become so outrageous that even people earning $95,000 a year are under financial pressure," Dr Brash, former Reserve Bank Governor, told The AM Show on Thursday.

"The people who are poorer and paying a huge amount of mortgage money or rent, they're in desperate straits."

While Mr Peters seemed open to either getting house prices down or wages up, Dr Brash said the latter was incredibly unlikely.

"You can't pay bigger pay increases if your per capita economy ain't growing - and that's the situation we've been in."

While GDP growth has been solid over the last five years it's been largely down to population growth, record immigration fuelling much of that.

"Total growth has been good in New Zealand, but growth per capita has been lousy. It's been very poor," said Dr Brash.

If wages are to grow instead of house prices coming down the median wage would need to be $65, which even Mr Peters said wouldn't happen until "the distant future".

Last year, Finance Minister Grant Robertson said it was not the Government's position to want house prices to fall.

"I want them to go up more slowly - people need to have value in their properties, but it needs to be a market that's affordable," he told The AM Show in November.

"I want house prices to moderate - what that means is a sustained period where they're not going up by 20 percent, but people get value in their priorities - but they're aren't going up to the extent that people can't afford to be in the market."

Don Brash.
Don Brash. Photo credit: AAP

And making house prices come down would be political suicide, says Dr Brash.

"The only way to deal with the housing crisis is to reduce the price of houses. How to you get re-elected if the price of houses drops 50 percent?"

If Mr Twyford was more interested in solving the housing crisis than getting re-elected, Dr Brash said he would "change the zoning rules and change the way infrastructure is funded".

"He knows what to do."

Not a single region of New Zealand is considered affordable under the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey. It says anything above three times the median income is unaffordable. Whanganui comes closest at 3.03. Auckland is at 9.3 and Queenstown 11.26.