Opinion: Our public housing system is bursting at the seams with record high numbers of New Zealanders waiting for a state house.
Recent figures show there are now 22,521 people waiting for public housing nationwide, roughly four times as many as when National left office in September 2017. On average, people will wait 177 days to be housed.
As at December 2020, there were 1,385 people in Hamilton City waiting for a state house and $10.2 million dollars was being spent on housing people in motels in Hamilton over the last quarter. When National left office, there were only 215 people on the waitlist in Hamilton City.
The state house waiting list is exploding because more and more Kiwis are being priced out of the private market as rents surge and construction fails to keep up with demand. In 2017, the median house price in the Waikato region was $480,000. Compare that to January 2021, which shows the Waikato region’s median house price has now risen to $655,000.
With thousands waiting for a state house & median house prices at an all-time high, housing is one of the biggest challenges facing the current government. In this exclusive to NewsViews, David Bennett outlines his opinion on this perennial problem.
The latest REINZ data shows that between January 2021 and February 2021, median house prices have increased by $50,000, reaching an all-time high of $780,000 nationwide.
Looking at the year-on-year increase since February 2020, median house prices have skyrocketed 22.8 per cent nationwide, with regions like Hawkes Bay experiencing increases as high as 36.4 per cent.
Since Labour came into power in late-2017, the median house price nationwide has increased nearly 50 per cent, up quarter of a million dollars. It is simply out of control. Labour’s complete failure to address the housing shortage is pushing Kiwis out of the housing market.
The full extent of the Government’s failure to get on top of New Zealand’s housing shortage has also been demonstrated by new figures that show more than $1 million dollars of taxpayer money is being spent per day on motels for emergency housing.
The Government spent $82.5 million, or $917,000 a day, in the past quarter on emergency housing grants for people to live in motels and similar accommodation. This is on top of the $155,000 a day the Government is spending on motels for transitional housing purposes. This is a more than ten-fold increase on what was being spent on emergency housing when Labour came into office.
National has proposed constructive solutions to address the root causes of New Zealand’s housing emergency and unlock a surge in new house building. We have offered to work with the Government on temporary emergency measures like those used after the Canterbury earthquake to make more space available for development. We can’t afford to wait until 2024 for RMA reform to take effect.
David Bennett, National Party List MP
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