Labour, NZ First, Green Housing Policies

With Jacinda Ardern as Prime Minister and Winston Peters as her likely deputy, three things are inevitable, writes Newshub political editor Patrick Gower.

  1. “Immigration will be cut by up to 30,000 a year.”

  2. “The Government will start building 100,000 homes.”

  3. “Foreign buyers will be banned from obtaining both homes and farms.”

All three of these changes will have effects on the construction industry, but it's too soon to say how until confirmed policies are released next week.

A three-party coalition between Labour, New Zealand First, and the Greens may prove tumultuous because they all campaigned differently on the housing market. How do their current policies compare?

Labour's housing policy

The key points will affect the building industry from Labour's housing policy are:

  • “Ban foreign speculators from buying existing homes”

  • “Tax property speculators who 'flick' houses within five years”

  • “Prevent speculators from using tax losses on their rental properties to offset their tax on other income”

  • “Build 100,000 affordable homes across the country” (Priced $500,000-$600,000 in Auckland and $300,000-$500,000 elsewhere)

  • “Labour’s Dole for Apprenticeships policy will subsidise employers to take on around 4,000 young people for on the job training in fields including building and construction” (Labour’s policy of three years free post-school education includes building and construction training)

New Zealand First's housing policy

New Zealand First is more even more nationalist on housing, with its policy setting out:

  • “Reduce pressure on housing by slashing 72,400 foreign migrants net, who entered New Zealand over the past year with most settling in Auckland”

  • “Ensure that only New Zealand citizens and Permanent Residents can buy freehold land”

  • The party also wants to establish a new state agency to acquire and develop land for residential development, review building standards (specifically around earthquake and landslip vulnerability), and “require compulsory and adequate insurance cover be acquired by all building owners”

The Green Party's housing policy

The Greens campaigned on a socialist ticket to provide cheaper houses for those who currently can't afford them:

  • “Increase acquisition and building of state housing units by at least 3000 units a year for the next 3 years”

  • “Maintain an income related rental policy of 25 per cent of income or Housing New Zealand Corporation tenants”

Such points are is underpinned by Greens' “nobody left homeless” policy. 

  • The Greens would also like to “Remove legal and institutional barriers to the development of co-operative housing, eco-villages, self-built, sweat equity housing, shared ownership, and papakainga housing”

  • It also will want strong development of a new set of standards for environmentally sustainable building materials, and ensuring that all new buildings conform to sustainable building principles

What does this all mean?

1. All three parties want to bring down sale prices of New Zealand housing, which is only possible via market forces which must increase supply and decrease demand. The result will be lost equity by those who have bought or built at peak prices.

2. Capital gains tax will be a contentious issue within the new coalition. Labour has been wishy-washy on it (a tax working group will provide advice later this year), the Greens says it must be implemented on all properties except the family home, and New Zealand First vehemently opposes capital gains tax. It will take a long time to pass anything into law on this issue, especially with such strong opposition seats from the National side.

3. All three parties are banking on a strong new workforce of New Zealand citizens to meet the labour shortfall. The pool of new migrants contributing to the construction industry will shrink. Aside from offering free education, it remains wholly unclear how this new government plans to entice Kiwi citizens into jobs in building.