Govt's rare bipartisan housing effort a 'moot point' - expert

Source: 1News

A housing expert has called the rare bipartisan government announcement aimed at generating up to 100,000 new Kiwi homes is a "moot point" in the current landscape.

On Tuesday, the Labour and National parties announced a combined effort to cut red tape and speed up the build of housing in New Zealand with sweeping changes allowing up to three houses three storeys high to be built on one site in Aotearoa's biggest cities.

Currently, most plans only allow for one home up to two storeys.

AUT professor of construction management John Tookey told Breakfast on Wednesday morning the scheme surprised him.

"I'm still rather stunned that we've got both sides on the table group-hugging on this one," Tookey said.

"But how effective it's going to be remains a moot point because the opportunity to build is not the same as building outcomes."

Tookey said the opportunity to build higher-density homes without the capabilities to do so is going to be a challenge for the New Zealand housing landscape.

He says current infrastructure is already feeling the pressure from high resource prices and demand as well as a worker shortage due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Track homes completed and incomplete on a construction site.

He added the latest announcement was "eerily familiar" to Labour's KiwiBuild target which was also 100,000 new homes - a milestone that was far being completed.

"It's not going to necessarily achieve the outcomes that have been stated," he said.

"It comes back to the capacity and construction aspects of this; we need to think about strategic sourcing, standardised building solutions, different funding models - and that's all before we start talking about skills and capacity of the work."

Later on Breakfast, National Party leader Judith Collins acknowledged Tookey's point but said it was a strong first step in getting Kiwis more chances to build.

“House prices and the inability of an entire generation to own their own home is something that we have to, across the aisle in Parliament, take extremely seriously,” Collins said.

"It’s about increasing the supply of homes, giving opportunities for people to use their own properties to maximise housing situation."

An example Collins gave of the new scheme helping Kiwis was that a retiring New Zealander could build a smaller home on their large plot to move into that is more cost-effective for their future living situation while selling their existing, bigger home.

The approach would save someone time and effort from having to buy again with the added boost of getting to stay in their neighbourhood.

“What it does mean is that people do have the opportunity,” Collins said.