Days to the General Election: 16
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Have your say: Labour and National's home affordability policies

Have your say: Labour and National's home affordability policies

Labour and National have announced policies to make housing more affordable for New Zealanders. We've summarised their policies below. We welcome your thoughts. For more information on housing affordability, see our monthly affordability report: The Wizard Home Loans Affordability Report Outlines (plus links) of Labour and National's respective policies are below.

Labour: Welcome Home Loans (set up in 2003):

  • A housing affordability scheme for households of one or two borrowers earning up to NZ$85,000; or earning up to NZ$120,000 combined, if there are three or more borrowers (both before tax).
  • If eligible, a household can borrow up to NZ$200,000 with no deposit; or up to NZ$280,000 with a deposit of 15% of the amount above NZ$200,000. The deposit can be gifted.
  • There are fees such as an application fee and a Lenders Mortgage Insurance premium fee of 1%.
  • For owner-occupied properties only.
  • Borrowers cannot own any other real estate.

Shared Equity Home Loan Scheme (set up in mid-2008, pilot scheme will run for two years):

  • For first home buyers (or second chancers) in Auckland, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch and Queenstown.
  • Household income between NZ$55,000 and NZ$85,000 (before tax).
  • Must be unable to afford a 100% home loan for a home that qualifies under the scheme.
  • Maximum house price is 90% of the lower quartile house price for each region.
  • Minimum of 5% deposit on the purchase price of the home.
  • Loan is repaid when house is sold (so no regular repayments).
  • Limited number with a monthly ballot. Those who choose to build their home bypass the ballot.

Rental affordability:

  • Ensures that state housing tenants continue to pay no more than 25% of their income in rent.


  • First home buyers able to withdraw some (or all) of Kiwisaver funds to aid purchase.
  • Must have been contributing to Kiwisaver for at least three years.
  • Excludes the NZ$1,000 government kick-start and member tax credit.

Enabling Territorial Authorities Bill:

  • Enables territorial authorities to require either some affordable housing to be built in new developments, or that developers contribute money or land towards affordable housing to be built elsewhere.

Home Ownership on the Public Estate Program (HOPE):

  • Identifying Crown land that could be used for new housing development.
  • 1500 sites to be made available in Auckland over next four years.
  • Labour will not allow the land to be sold to the home owners.
  • Home owner pays for house building.

Tax cuts:

  • Three year tax cut program.
  • Raise 39c threshold to NZ$80,000; raise 33c threshold to NZ$42,500; raise 21c threshold to NZ$20,000.

National: Continue with Shared Equity Home Loan pilot scheme:

  • Applicants currently under consideration will have choice of pursuing shared equity scheme or switching to proposed 'Gateway Housing' initiative.

Gateway Housing initiative:

  • Releasing crown land for first home buyers directly or in partnership with community housing organisations.
  • free use of a "˜ready-to-build' leased section for up to 10 years as long as they start building within one year.
  • owners will have first right to buy the land at its original capital value plus 3% for every year they have occupied it.

Boost Housing Innovation Fund:

  • $20 million a year boost in support of community housing providers who have a proven record of helping people into rental accommodation and home ownership.

State Housing:

  • Allow tenants of Housing New Zealand to buy the section and land they live on.
  • Keep income-related rents for state housing tenants.
  • Boost investment in the upgrade of state houses to $15 million a year.

Allow Councils to free-up land for housing development:

  • Allow councils to incentivise the release of residentially zoned land by landholders for subdivision and housing in a reasonable time frame.

Tax cuts:

  • Raise top threshold to NZ$70,000 and cut from 39c to 37c; Raise 33c threshold to NZ$55,000


  • Reduce minimum contribution rate to 2% from April 1, 2009.

Rental affordability:

  • Maintain the Accommodation Supplement

Here is a link to a piece on the Green Party's housing policy released at the beginning of September.

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Days to the General Election: 16
See Party Policies here. Party Lists here.