'Idiots' in Parliament have no idea how to fix housing crisis - Eaqub

Parliament is full of "idiots" who either have no idea how to fix the housing crisis or are too scared to try, according to one of the country's best-known economists.

The Government's flagship housing programme KiwiBuild is a "distraction" that won't achieve anything, Shamubeel Eaqub told The AM Show on Friday.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford on Wednesday publicly dropped the target of building 1000 affordable homes in the much-maligned 10-year scheme's first 12 months, saying only 300 would emerge out of the overall total of 100,000.

But the KiwiBuild system will remain the same - incentivising developers to build houses first-home buyers can afford, or snapping up qualifying homes that have already been planned or built by the market.

Mr Eaqub says more of the same won't fix the housing crisis.

"The Government can build cheap houses, but you can't do the same thing that we've been doing," he told The AM Show on Thursday.

"It's a pipe dream to say we're going to build new houses at the current methods that normal Kiwis can afford... why are we doing all of this stuff?"

We're doing it, he says, because we keep electing Governments too scared to upset the property-owning Baby Boomer demographic.

"We've had politics on inaction for nearly 30 to 40 years because it benefitted us to have the housing boom - it benefitted us to have wealthy people, happy people, who voted to keep things as they are. But now it's turned into a crisis... We've had a generation who's benefitted a great deal from the housing boom, and we don't have the leadership on either side of politics to go ahead and do this stuff."

Home ownership has plummeted over the last 30 years, hitting a high of 74 percent in 1991. It's now around 63 percent.

Shamubeel Eaqub.
Shamubeel Eaqub. Photo credit: The AM Show

Mr Eaqub says there have been multiple reports commissioned on how to fix the housing affordability crisis, including a "huge, big door-stopper" presented to the National-led Government - which was largely ignored.

"We know what the issues are, we know what the solutions are - we just need to find a non-partisan way of actually implementing the things we want... They're all a bunch of idiots, right because they're all going around doing things at the margin."

One of Labour's other big plans to help curb housing costs - cut immigration - would fail too, said Mr Eaqub.

"You can't put up Trumpian walls just because you have a housing crisis. Population is one thing, but the real big problem is we don't know how to build houses that people need," he explained - adding that Auckland would grow regardless, thanks to internal migration.

"The growth of population in Auckland is going to happen regardless, whether we have international migration or not, because Auckland just sucks people in."

He's confident the problem will eventually be solved, but using current methods that could take about 20 years - twice as long as KiwiBuild, and beyond the lifespan of most of the Boomer generation.

Newshub.

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