The Herald reports:
The Prime Minister has been accused of lying about housing price increases under Labour – but figures support his often-repeated claim.
John Key was called a liar after an exchange with Labour leader Andrew Little in Question Time Tuesday.
Mr Little asked what effect the Government’s new rules on taxing capital gain on residential properties would have on the Auckland housing market.
In response, Mr Key repeated a claim he has made in recent weeks – that house prices doubled under the previous Labour Government.
That prompted Labour’s housing spokesman Phil Twyford to tweet that the Prime Minister was repeating the lie that house prices went up more under Labour than under his own Government.
So what is the truth?
Mr Twyford referred to statistics from the Real Estate Institute of NZ (REINZ) that showed its Auckland housing price index rose by 77 per cent during the Helen Clark Labour Government, and 87 per cent under the current National Government.
But another data set also released by REINZ – median national sale prices – does support the Prime Minister’s statement.
Under Labour, the national median price rose from $172,000 in November 1999 to $337,500 in November 2008, a 96 per cent increase.
The national median price has since gone up another 35 per cent under National to $455,000.
So median price for NZ doubled under Labour, compared to 35% under National.
Twyford tries to wriggle out of his claim by saying:
Mr Twyford told the Herald that he stood by his criticism.
The Prime Minister was being deliberately misleading by referring to nationwide prices in responding to questions about Auckland prices, without saying he was using nationwide figures, Mr Twyford said.
Twyford is wrong – again. Let’s look at Hansard:
Interestingly enough, if you look at the information by the Real Estate Institute, figures across New Zealand actually show that although Auckland house prices are up, the rest of the country is very mixed; some are actually down. And, interestingly enough, if you look at the equivalent period of time under the last Labour Government, house prices doubled. Under National they have gone up nationally by 35 percent.
Twyford should apologise. And to remove doubt, Key in a previous question used a different figure in reference to Auckland prices:
I know that Labour members do not like it, but house prices doubled under their watch. Actually, Auckland house prices went up by 79 percent under the previous Labour Government.
So John Key clearly linked to doubling of house prices to being nation-wide and used the 79% figure correctly for Auckland house prices under Labour.
Twyford will of course refuse to apologise.