KiwiBuild reset is bad news for low- and middle-income earners – thinktank

by Roxanne Libatique04 Nov 2019

The reset of the government’s KiwiBuild policy may worsen the housing crisis for low- and middle-income earners, according to thinktank Economic and Social Research Aotearoa (ESRA).

Vanessa Cole, a housing researcher at ESRA, said that rather than focusing on home ownership, any policy to address the housing crisis must involve a “mass build of public housing, security of tenure for those in public housing, and looser restrictions on who can access this housing.”

“Kiwibuild as it stands relies on market-based solutions that have been proven not to work and involves the privatisation of public land and the gentrification and pricing out of low-income renters from their communities,” Cole said.

Read more: Megan Woods says government can still be trusted despite KiwiBuild failure

According to Cole, a policy that focuses on providing public housing would protect rents from private landlords, make market house prices more affordable, save public land from privatisation, and create a continuous funding stream for building additional housing stock.

“Massive increases to public housing stock have been called for by the Welfare Expert Advisory Group, economist Shamubeel Eaqub, and even Treasury. This is a popular policy that, in tandem with Māori-led papakāinga developments, would go a long way towards seriously addressing the housing crisis in New Zealand. All that would be required from Labour is some political will,” Cole said.

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