Opposition slams government’s progressive home ownership scheme

by Duffie Osental25 Feb 2021

The government’s progressive home ownership scheme has been criticized by the opposition after it was revealed that only 12 families have moved into new homes since the programme was launched in July.

The $400 million scheme was introduced seven months ago with two providers in Auckland and Queenstown, respectively, to support low to medium income families struggling to pull together a deposit, or pay a mortgage, into home ownership.

Read more: REINZ, Labour react to National's new housing policy

Housing minister Megan Woods said at the time of its launch that the program aimed to help “up to 4,000 families who could not otherwise afford home ownership.”

However, Woods told the Social Services Select Committee earlier this week that only 12 families have so far been housed under the scheme – a figure she blamed on the complexity of the process.

“It’s 12 that have already moved in as of January,” Woods said, according to a stuff.co.nz report. “This is actually a really intensive programme – sometimes it can be a journey of three years, for someone to get into home ownership through a progressive home ownership pathway.”

A spokesperson for Woods added that a further 78 families have been contracted to the scheme, and another 25 families are scheduled to move into apartments built in Queenstown, according to stuff.co.nz.

The opposition has slammed the initial figure, with National Party spokesperson Nicola Willis saying that the small number showed that the government is “out of touch” with the scale of New Zealand’s housing shortage.

“Here we are in 2021 and the scheme has only delivered 12 houses,” said Willis. “Worse, the minister is shouting this result from the rooftops, promoting it as a ‘game changer’ for Kiwis. This will come as a slap in the face to the hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders locked out of home ownership by escalating house prices and a dire shortage of houses.”

“Kiwis would have a higher chance of winning Lotto than benefiting from this scheme,” she added.

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