You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Government scoffs at Labour's housing plan

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 10/07/2016 Sarah Robson

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says Labour's new housing plan is largely an endorsement of what the government's already doing. © Phil Walter/Getty Images Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says Labour's new housing plan is largely an endorsement of what the government's already doing. The government is scoffing at Labour's new housing plan, saying it's largely an endorsement of what National's already doing.

Labour wants to establish a new independent Crown entity - the Affordable Housing Authority - to fast-track the building of more affordable homes.

The authority will have two key functions: to acquire land for housing, including Crown land, and to partner with the private sector, councils and iwi to create housing developments.

"The authority will use the best of public and private sector expertise to work with developers to cut through the red tape, with fast-tracked consenting so it can get on with building the houses we need," Labour leader Andrew Little said on Sunday.

The authority will also be the main driving force behind Labour's updated KiwiBuild programme, which aims to build 100,000 affordable homes for first-home buyers over 10 years - 50,000 of them in Auckland.

But Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce has called the announcement "underwhelming".

"[Labour's] come out with a policy that says we would do most of the things that the government is doing and we'd try and build some more houses, but we'd do it with roughly the same amount of money that the government's already putting in," he told NZ Newswire.

"They've talked a very big game for months on end about how apparently the government's doing nothing and apparently we're not building any houses and they would do it massively differently."

Labour is also mooting tougher rules for property speculators, including extending the bright line test - which determines when tax must be paid on the gain made when selling a property - from two years to five years.

"This will stop speculators making a quick buck from flicking houses and is on top of our ban on overseas speculators from buying existing homes," Mr Little said.

The current exemptions from the bright line test will continue.

Labour will also look at the rules around negative gearing, which it says can be used by speculators to make taxpayers subsidise losses on their properties.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon