National and Labour on housing

Audrey Young reports:

There are some differences between National and Labour’s policy responses to the housing shortage but the fact is that much of it is by degree. There is more commonality between their policies than difference on addressing supply.

Government partnering private developers on Crown surplus land is equivalent to KiwiBuild policy.

It requires state intervention in the private market in a bid to rapidly boost supply. It is the Government’s most important current policy in terms of potential for growing supply.

Within five years, the Government expects to be delivering 15 to 20 per cent of the new houses into the Auckland market.

National has also embraced Labour’s urban renewal programme in Tamaki and encouraged large-scale development programmes such as in Weymouth and Hobsonville. They have few differences there.

The crossover goes both ways. Labour has now accepted National’s long-held view that restrictive planning laws in Auckland have been a key driver in limiting urban boundaries and driving up land prices. It was a major concession and Twyford announced new funding schemes to spread the cost of development infrastructure across generations, rather than piling it into the cost of a new home.

Labour hasn’t yet decided how it will vote on the current RMA reforms before a select committee, aimed at relaxing consenting rules but there’s a good chance it will support it.

A few years ago the parties were in quite different positions. National was focusing mainly on increasing supply and Labour on decreasing demand.Now both parties are promoting policies to both increase supply and decrease demand.

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