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Govt housing plan falls short: opposition

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 16/05/2017

© Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images The government will spend $2.2 billion on phase one of what they say is the biggest social and affordable housing build in the country in six decades.

Social Housing Minister Amy Adams on Tuesday announced 34,000 homes would be built on government-owned land over the next decade, including 13,500 new social houses for low income earners and 20,600 released to the market at affordable prices.

But Labour leader Andrew Little labelled the programme an "embarrassment" compared with his party's 100,000 new home policy which includes 50,000 in Auckland over the same period.

Overall the government's plan will create 25,900 homes, with 8300 existing social houses being demolished to make way for new properties.

Some are already under construction, with 150 expected to be completed this financial year.

Phase one will be built over four years and will include 4700 social houses and 2300 affordable homes, requiring the demolition of 3000 existing properties.

"These houses will be for our most vulnerable families, for first-home buyers and for the wider market," Ms Adams said.

It's anticipated affordable one and two bedroom homes would cost up to $650,000.

Stage one will cost $2.2 billion over four years - $1.1 billion from loans and the remainder from Housing New Zealand funds.

House sales and rental returns would fund phase two.

Ms Adams has been forced to defend the policy against comparisons to Labour's KiwiBuild.

She claims there's not enough Crown land in Auckland to build the number of houses Labour has promised.

But Mr Little has also defended his policy against the comparisons.

"I really wish they'd just stolen our policy and then called it theirs. That would be more flattering.

"This is an embarrassment actually."

Mr Little claimed the government was desperate to look like they were doing something about housing four months out from the election after denying the existence of a housing crisis for nine years.

As well as using Crown land Mr Little said Labour would look to private and iwi land owners to deliver its promise.

Green Party co-leader James Shaw said the 26,000 home increase wasn't enough to fix the problem, with Auckland already short 40,000 homes and needing an extra 15,000 a year to keep up with population growth.

NZ First leader Winston Peters' response to the announcement was "whoopee".

"Auckland needs at least 140,000 homes within the next 10 years so demolishing 8300 houses, only 40 years old, and building 34,000 over 10 years is simply not taking the demand for housing in Auckland seriously," he said.

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