Ardern wants to tackle housing crisis 'on multiple fronts' amid 'unsustainable' price growth

Anna Whyte
Source: 1News

Jacinda Ardern said the Government would attempt "to tackle on multiple fronts" the housing crisis - which has led to what she described as unsustainable price growth, while homeownership rates fall and public housing needs rise. 

The Prime Minister says she's "not going to be defensive" about admitting there's a problem with rising house prices in New Zealand.

Today the Prime Minister announced the 2021 plan for housing which included targeting supply "by addressing the underlying structural issues such as complex planning laws".

The plan also includes acting "with urgency to tilt the field toward first home buyers and investment in new housing and to boost the supply of public, transitional and affordable homes". 

"Central to our recovery as we've often flagged is addressing New Zealand's decade long housing shortage and affordability issues," Ardern said. 

"Housing is one of New Zealand's toughest long term problems. Rapid rises pose a risk to the long term health of our economy. There is no silver bullet for fixing the housing crisis," she said. 

"That is not a reason for inaction, it is a reason to tackle on multiple fronts and on an ongoing effort."

Ardern gave a timeline for housing-related moves by the Government.

By late-February, Finance Minister Grant Robertson would have received advice over the demand-side initiatives and there would be announcements in February over reform around planning restraints.

In May, the 2021 Budget would contain measures to address housing supply. 

"This year we will advance a range of initiatives aimed at both its supply and demand - none on their own will be a silver bullet, but collectively, they will move us towards where we will be able ... to shift this decade-old problem," Ardern said. 

ACT housing spokesperson Brooke van Velden described the Government of being "bereft of ideas on delivering more housing".

"The shortage of housing isn't a new issue, and by Budget day the Government will be about 20 per cent of the way through its term," she said. 

Yesterday, National and the Green Party called for action after the latest state housing wait list was released - with 22,409 applications as of November last year. 

Also released were Trade Me results which showed the average asking price for properties across every region had reached new records last month. New Zealand's national average asking price reached a record-breaking $767,050, according to Trade Me figures.