Andrew Little announces second tranche of Labour's Housing policy; plans to build add net extra 1,000 state houses each year; return housing assessment to Housing NZ from WINZ; Housing would stop paying dividends; use funds to build houses instead

Andrew Little announces second tranche of Labour's Housing policy; plans to build add net extra 1,000 state houses each year; return housing assessment to Housing NZ from WINZ; Housing would stop paying dividends; use funds to build houses instead

By Bernard Hickey

Labour Leader Andrew Little has announced the second part of his party's election housing policy, saying a Labour Government would build an extra 1,000 net new state houses each year, funded at least partly by Housing NZ Corp not paying a dividend.

The assessment staff that had been moved out of Housing NZ and into Work and Income NZ (WINZ) under the current Government would also be moved back into Housing NZ, Little told The Nation in an interview on Saturday.

Housing New Zealand paid a dividend of NZ$108 million in 2014/15 and an extra 1,000 houses a year would cost NZ$350 million per year.

Labour announced on Thursday it would provide an extra NZ$60 million over four years to fund the provision of an extra 1,400 extra places for homeless people in emergency housing provided by Non-Government Organsiations. See our article here.

Labour is expected to announce the centrepiece of its Housing policy on Sunday, when it expected to give more detail on its Kiwibuild policy of building 100,000 affordable houses over 10 years for resale to first home buyers, its policy on taxation of rental property investors, and its policy of banning non-residents from buying existing homes.

Little told The Nation that the affordable houses would cost around NZ$400,000 to NZ$500,000.

Little later said in a speech at a Labour Party conference that a Labour Government would change Housing NZ from a corporation to a public service.

"National has used Housing NZ to profit from the most vulnerable and turned it into a glorified property management company," Little said.

“The Government is using the corporation as a cash cow as it sells-off state houses. Since National came to office it has taken NZ$664 million from Housing NZ in dividends and has only put in NZ$141 million – meaning it has stripped NZ$523 million out of the corporation," he said.

"How out of touch do you have to be to flog off two and a half thousand state houses – and plan on selling eight thousand more – all in the middle of a housing crisis? How is it that in the worst housing crisis in living memory the highest ambition National has for Housing New Zealand is to be a cash cow? Well with Labour, that stops."

Little would trim migration

Meanwhile, Little said he would look to cut back on the number of temporary work permits. He would not commit to a numerical target for cutting temporary work visas, other than to say a 5,000 increase in the last year was not justified as the economy slowed.

"That will shift around from one period to the next. Right now, I'd be cutting that number back. An extra 5,000 isn't justified. 38,000 word permits -- people coming here to fill vacancies in many cases that aren't here. That doesn't make sense," he said.

"That's what I'd be focusing on."

(Updated with more details, comments on migration)

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.


Comment Filter

Highlight new comments in the last hr(s).

Updated with video.



Good start.
I'll give them the benefit of the doubt, despite their pathetic inaction in the 2000s.

very generous of you -- especially given that they did not build a total of 1000 homes in their last five years of government!

and how long do you think before the incumbent government does any building whatsoever , another 4 years? 8 years? or not at all
its time to try something else current policies are failing.

Labour is going to build 1000 new state homes per year because theres heaps of builders, plumbers and electricians around doing nothing - Yeah right !

it was done in the past, and with new technology can be done again.
of course we would have to ramp up the training of tradespeople, but that would be a lot better than giving ALL our young loans and marching off to university
check out how advanced companies build.

Even the traditional companies, such as Sekisui, you might want to look at this. Technology that is way beyond the comprehension of most Kiwis.

Even the traditional companies, such as Sekisui, you might want to look at this. Technology that is way beyond the comprehension of most Kiwis.

Beyond our comprehension?? A sheet of faux brick work being constructed by industrial robots?

Here's a thought - The Resource Management Act Noise limits means that all construction power tools are not permitted to used on Sundays or any public holiday. in residential zones. Yet if you have a chain saw / lawn mower / weed trimmer go right ahead. Isn't it time that this was changed ... if it was this could increase time available to build by adding a whopping 16% more time. "16% more time = 16% more houses. Appreciate Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest but what happens those people who's rostered day off is Wednesday .... bout time the RMA was changed for the real world.

Also to the average DIY'er having the bonus of building your fence or deck over a 4 day easter break forget it it's currently illegal under the RMA (council enforcement) ... you only have the Saturday

Modular building is nothing new. What you dont see is ALL (not all factories have the scale of robotics especially for 4 million people) the work done in their factories only the final assembly. A key reason why they buildlike this is the weather being sooo cold. Currently to erect ground floor frames on a 160 sm house can be done by two people in a day onsite so 10 people on site would boost that no end.

Aside from this the council contributions for inspections would be close to zip and council building inspector would freak out if it turned up all lined and built LOL

as usual - jump on a bandwagon with a policy shot full of holes and no real thought gone into to it.

- how does this address the Auckland problem - where sections are $400,000+
- At $2,300 a meter cheapest build cost = these ill be very very small builds
- infrastructure anyone ?
_ buiders ? currently all working 50+ hours a week and still 6 month waits to start existing projects
Funded by ...... so HNZ keep the levy so what existing spending will they cut to fund it - as redirecting the levy from government spending direct to housing is not raising more money

so to sum up -- so far 410 million dollars spending but no indication of where this will be raised - tax rises or spending cuts
Building 1000 homes with no builders
total finished cost less than a 400m section in hobsonville!

reminds me of something Cuncliffe would have dreamed up!

At least $200,000 of that section cost is landbankers profit.
Give priority to infrastructure on new rural land instead and the profit will largely disappear in the panic to clear their stock.
It is called competition.

Average size of 3 bed house 149 sq meters - average build cost of low spec houses $2300 sq meter - so $350K for the build - then add in the costs of consent - architect/ planner/geotech/ QS. Surveyor, traffic report, developer contributions, council inspections - don't forget 12k for watercare - and the sections need to be pretty much free to make it work! - I think the landbankers will just hold what they have on that basis - they can afford to time is on their side - and competition will not conjure up the 25000 tradies required to make it happen - as all the existing and new tradies will keep working for the better wages and it wont be the Labour party- that's competition

Fact is there is no real competition in building for the materials - bit of a duopoly at best so we are going up when the rest of the world going down in costs! and with every trade able to secure more work than they need - no competition there either -- just had two surveyors decline a nice simple piece of work because I wanted it done within 6 weeks! Little is living in Dreamland if he thinks he can build 1000 extra houses plus the land to sell on 350K per house!

Bang on kpnuts. Also, your calculation assumes that it is a plain piece of land. Any slope will add substantial amount of cost to the build. (How many times do we really have a plain piece of land in Auckland?)

Oh dear me !! the video tells it all...such a shaky salesman with a shonky product .... Polys need training well before the tradesmen ... Another pie in the sky from labour, no wonder they are so exposed and sitting on the opposition benches for such long - completely out of fresh ideas.
So is Mr. little going to house FHB in state houses too? might as well while at it ..

There are two keys.

The first key is multi-proof consented house designs built in factories, and the pump priming is getting one or more of them housing factories manufacturing those designs, at volume.

  • Multi-proofing the designs side-lines the stupid TLA's and their interminable and expensive consenting processes.
  • Getting a few House Factories up and running means some development incentives, and some volume: the former possible via e.g. tax or depreciation breaks, the latter via letting social-housing contracts for hundreds of houses to achieve short break-even times for aforesaid factories.
  • Accept that small, highly modular designs are all there is. Small = less cost, modular = able to be cranked out by automated machinery in factories.
  • Steam-roller district plans top-down, by building into the NPS the requirement that houses produced this way and for this purpose override district plans,

The second key is greenfields development on ex-rural land (old life-sentence properties???).
A 600 sq m section is worth, at rural land prices of $50K/ha, allowing 1/3 loss to roads, reserves etc,, around $4,550. So do all this via greenfields development, and cut out the unearned CG that otherwise accrues to the land bankers and to those fortunate enough to have their little rural plot magically re-zoned to Urban and the value raised ten-fold..

Doubters of the concept of factory builds can consult and this is only one of several shovel-ready factory builds. But the key is Volume.

After all, it's this (or something very close) or less desirable alternatives: the poor can be warehoused in pensioned-off cruise ships (the old Wanganella, moored in Doubtful Sound for the duration of the Manapouri Power Scheme comes to mind), trailer parks, boarding houses or barracks. All are a step up from garages, dry spots under bridges, or cars/vans. But just Like 'sustainability', one has to stipulate 'at what level of comfort' for the whole thing to make any sense.....

For my money (and don't forget its Our Tax Dollars at work here), small, fast, warm, cheap houses need to be extruded outta them Factories toute suite.

Careful what you wish for. We don't want to end up with ghettos, and houses packed in so closely that you ca literally pass a bowl of sugar between houses through the window. This is one development that appears to be very packed in, no trees, just a mass of roofs. Since this aerial photo was done, the are is even more built up.

Or cut immigration down until we have enough house for them, that isn't going to push up house prices for residents

to me this is another peashooter policy, when a bazooka is needed. too small to make a difference

still needs to do a lot lot better on immigration, needs to be cut back to net 15 k for a few years to let infrastructure catch up

exactly. you'd get my vote if you ever go into politics sharetrader

With current migration, don't they need 30,000 house per year? Labour isn't performing their job of an effective opposition party, and democracy in NZ is suffering. They are instead concentrating on policies for an election in the future, that won't solve the current NZ housing crisis. There was an interesting story on RNZs media watch program, with how democracy in NZ is suffering due to lack of media resources to do indepth stories, and how no one has the resources to research the facts that politicians come out with, that can often be picked apart. National claim 40 new houses a day are being built, but that stat is solely based on building consents issued, but not all houses that get to consent stage ever get built.

With a low wage service economy coexisting with a globalised property market Labour will have to build many many more?

1,000 houses - that's all well and good.

What about the schools, infrastructure, transport options, etc.... I am guessing these magic houses wont be in the middle of town.

Hope they can get the land at a reasonable rate, particularly in Auckland, to be able to fulfill these promises. Otherwise they will become a laughing stock again.

Can expect to see the first boat people arriving under a labour govt. Persecuting family farms and people that rent houses out to people is a brilliant idea labour! Ever thought about tax breaks for investment into other sectors to swing money away from houseing,,,,? National arent great but labour scares me. These policies of Littles are reactionary and will spook the 57% who actually vote..