Affordable Housing policy in tatters

Councils say ‘no’ to cheap homes bill – 24 Mar 2008 – NZ Herald: New Zealand National news

The Government’s much vaunted Affordable housing policy is in tatters this morning after local councils flipped the bird at their proposals.

Local councils have rejected the Government’s new affordable housing bill, warning that associated costs will push up rates and make all ratepayers subsidise first-home buyers.

The Affordable Housing Bill is intended to add about 1000 new cheap homes to the national housing market each year.

But councils can choose not to use its provisions, and all that have made submissions to a parliamentary select committee considering the bill have rejected it.

Auckland-region councils want the bill to be withdrawn, saying it pushes unnecessary costs on to councils and will lead to rate increases.

The Christchurch, Wellington and Nelson City Councils are also against it.

Maryan Street is delusional saying that “some councils were keen on some areas of the bill”. That is politician speak for “this policy sucks but I think I can spin it so it looks fantastic”. However Local Government NZ disagrees.

Local Government NZ said the bill was fundamentally flawed and its processes were “complex, open-ended and involve unacceptable risk and cost.”

It did not know of any council which would adopt it, even among those that had sought new ways of encouraging affordable housing.

The costs of taking up affordable housing plans would be prohibitive for many councils and would open them to greater risk of legal challenges.

As a warning though Maryan Street says “to be universally welcomed on every point” but councils would have to look at “where the economic development lies”. Again a translation is needed it is “We know best what is good for you, so we are going to ram this law through because it is the only useful policy that Helen can hang her hat on even if it sucks, remember rule number one, we know best”

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