UnitedFuture's Peter Dunne interested in allowing first 10 years of student loan repayments to be channelled to KiwiSaver first home deposit scheme, writing off that portion of a student loan

UnitedFuture's Peter Dunne interested in allowing first 10 years of student loan repayments to be channelled to KiwiSaver first home deposit scheme, writing off that portion of a student loan

By Peter Dunne *

Claims this week that no-one seems to know how many affordable homes have been built in Auckland have re-ignited the housing debate in a shallow, unhelpful way of silly political point scoring which houses no-one, but more importantly, has also highlighted one of the basic flaws in our current approach.

Everyone, it seems, is flapping around bemoaning a housing crisis, and calling for something to be done. Things, we are told, are happening; new home approvals are allegedly at record levels; the construction industry is crying out for labour as it struggles to meet the demand; yet, now we hear banks are tightening lending criteria, even for first home buyers, to dampen demand.  Meanwhile, in Auckland, a number of previously designated special housing areas have been abandoned without one house ever having been built on them. And there are still too many stories of people who are at worst, homeless, or at best, living in grossly inadequate accommodation.

So, how can this be, despite all the apparently frenetic activity to the contrary? Ever increasing activity like a gyroscope out of control and without a clear purpose does not a crisis solve. Yet that is precisely what is happening at present. So it is hardly surprising that no-one seems able to say exactly how many affordable houses have been built, or even what constitutes an affordable home.

To stop these ever rapidly decreasing circles imploding there needs to be, as UnitedFuture has long argued, a clearly defined national housing strategy. And that strategy can only be developed after a special summit bringing together all the major players to design it, and then agree to abide by it. Central and local government need to be working far more closely together, with each other for a change and not against each other as has too often been the case. The banks and the building industry need to be at the table too to develop the plans for genuinely affordable homes for young families, and to ensure that the funds and the workforce are there to meet the demand. Social housing providers also need to be involved, both to ensure there are homes for those in need, and to work alongside private landlords to provide transitions from  emergency housing to affordable rental properties, and then ultimately to a home of one’s own. Without all these elements working in concert we will not make progress, and the current problems will simply multiply.

Worse, the sense of induced panic this will cause will produce extreme solutions – like Labour’s ill-fated plan not to sell homes to people with foreign-sounding names, or the thinly disguised anti-immigration of xenophobia of the likes of New Zealand First.

We need to life our sights above that negativity and become much more innovative in helping assist young families into their first home. UnitedFuture wants people to be able to capitalise in advance their Working for Families entitlements each year to assist with home ownership. There are other things we should be looking at as well. We believe half the homes the government will build over the next few years should be set aside as rent-to-buy homes, where families could use their rental payments to build up equity in their house to the point where they can buy it outright. We are also interested in share equity schemes whereby people might buy a portion of a house – say 40% – and rent the remaining 60%, using the equity built up by the portion they own to buy a greater shareholding as time goes by, until they have bought 100% of the home. Another option we are interested in is allowing people to convert their student loan repayments for up to the first ten years to a Kiwisaver scheme and to use those repayments and the interest earned as a housing credit towards a first home. **

The combination of a coherent national housing strategy to which all the major players are signed up, and innovative funding arrangements of the type we are proposing will go a long way towards addressing our national housing crisis, and restoring dignity and hope to ever despairing young families. These ought to be priorities for a compassionate society that cares about ensuring a better deal for future generations.


* Peter Dunne is the leader of the UnitedFuture Party and MP for Wellington's Ohariu electorate. He is the government Minister of Internal Affairs, Associate Minister of Health and Associate Minister of Conservation.

** The move would effectively act as a write off of that person's first ten years of student loan repayments, Dunne told interest.co.nz. "For the first ten years the repayments would go into Kiwisaver, rather than the Consolidated Fund, so it is equivalent to a write-off, provided the funds are then used for housing purposes," he said. UnitedFuture already has a policy calling for free tertiary education.

You can read all published party policies for the 2017 election here.

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).

Damn it man. Stop trying to control what people do with money through awful Kafkaesque disincentive and incentive systems. Just stop loading up our young people with debt simply for getting an education. Bring back free education or universal living cost assistance for all who choose to gain higher education.

The economy would work a whole lot better if people weren't hamstrung by our societal constructs from the start.

The last thing we need is more public money funnelled to the private property sector.


Hear Hear


This is so short-sighted. Once again, politicians going the default route in NZ of property as investment. How about some innovation and policy to support the next cohort of workers into better paying jobs, or starting up their own business? Then the home ownership bit will sort itself out following this.


What an appalling idea. Another Dunne grandstand. Will result in the usual unintended consequences incl encouraging even more pointless lifestyle courses, benefitting more those who take out the biggest loans, disadvantaging any FHB who doesn't need to go to courses e.g apprentices, those added by employers e.g The Navy still do that??. Also those loans are not just for course fees but for living. That is usual cost of existence not something that should be a freebie.

Nine years of influence in coalition, nothing achieved, now grandstanding on why he should be allowed to keep his job. MP's job performance should be measured by more than funding bow-ties and flock-of-seagulls haircuts.

Agree with the above posters, this is just another terrible idea designed to keep those born at the right time in the lifestyle they've become accustomed to. Gareth Morgan in contrast, delivers a much more egalitarian approach with his novel ideas.

Peter Dunne asks - So, how can this be ... ?

Well Peter you have not used your "political capital wisely" - instead, you have supported and condoned and okayed everything this National Party has dunne - all the sleight of hand - the trickery - the deception - the dishonesty - the outright lies - and you remained silent throughout - Our only hope now is that that your Rooster becomes a feather duster, allowing someone else to have a go

This guy has no clue.

And you do? God that statement is arrogant. Everyone is entitled to there own point of view.

Yes. Doing nothing would be better. That is my view.
And I don't mind sounding arrogant when this guy just comes up with random fiddly ideas to make it look like he is doing something, then has the ARROGANCE to suggest other parties are xenophobic, i.e. using buzz words to boost your popularity at the expense of others'.

....and who put you on a pedestal. Your comments paint a portrait of Peter Dunne - perhaps it is just a reflection in a mirror.

We want less Hui and more Dui. Time he moved on

While I agree most people confuse talk with action - isn't that the point of all politics - talk and procrastinate as much as possible to get as little done in the longest possible time ( corporate governance follows much the same pattern - make it look as if you are doing something when in fact you are doing nothing - well that is what I have concluded and I work for one of NZ's largest company's)..

In other words... don't hate on Peter Dunne, he's just a politician and that's what politicians do.

Proceed with caution B-Rocker, "it's life, Jim, but not as we know it". It's some sort of Internet entity that feeds off the energy in your comments.

But you just said that I'm entitled to an opinion. Now you're saying I need a pedestal to have an opinion? You have faulty logic wiring robot. That does not compute.
I'm glad that my writing was so poetic as to paint a portrait in your mind, but it certainly isn't reflective of me; indeed my words directly suggest that I:
a) disagree with his proposal; and
b) detest political point scoring using hollow buzz words, for which I accuse him.


I have a good bottle of red wine stowed away just waiting for the day Dunne is gone from parliament. I've already opened one this year when 'Mr Amnesia" himself abandoned ship. Please don't keep me waiting too long.

Well Peter Dunne I approached you with a matter of corruption relevant to your portfolio and all you did was: nothing.

He has no value as an MP and is not a good representative of his electorate. It will be a good day when United disappears from Parliament.

So, now is your opportunity to rub his nose in it

I think that Peter's idea of capitalising the Housing supplement is a very good one, but it must be backed up by sorting out the supply and demand problems, otherwise it will just add fuel to house prices. There is also a matter of fairness, a hard working young couple who have not yet started a family, could be a lot worse off than people are not striving as hard to be self sufficient.

I like it.. 2 birds with 1 stone. I'll be out of the window but for new grads getting that extra 12% funneled into kiwis saver will see deposits built up fast. Will keep our brightest here too.

must be an election coming up, as, up pop the meerkats

What? Get a grip, Dunne. One expects inane burblings from that source, but this is absurd, and a blatant attempt to fake concern for the under-25s. Must be worried that he's about to be pitched off the lifetime gravy train and is trying to suck up to the yoof.

Also, "Labour’s ill-fated plan not to sell homes to people with foreign-sounding names" is a grossly dishonest misrepresentation, and this turkey expects to be taken seriously when he's coming out with that kind of flagrant lie? And after that line in the first para about silly political point-scoring, too. Hypocrite much?

All this will do is push up the price of houses, and incentive's houses as investment, over other forms of investment. Also what about those who have already paid back their loan, and didn't have . Jut sounds like an election sweetener.

Likely push up the price of uni fees as well.

It's a write off of the loan. Deckchairs - Titanic - Daft.
How can you build a society that needs a savings and investment approach and some realism, when Dunne promotes this smoke. Fortunately he leaves parliament quite soon.

Your access to our unique content is free - always has been. But ad revenues are diving so we need your direct support.

Become a supporter

Thanks, I'm already a supporter.