15 May 2018

State housing waiting list 'shockingly high'

8:04 pm on 15 May 2018

New figures have been released showing the waiting list for state housing has hit an all time high.

Construction starts on the Kiwibuild project

Construction starts on the Kiwibuild project Photo: RNZ/ Sophia Duckor-Jones

There are now nearly 8000 families and individuals on the waiting list for public housing, and 2000 more looking to shift to a different state house.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford said the government was working as fast as it could.

"The waiting list is shockingly high it's getting close to 10,000 - it's gone up by 26 percent in the last three months.

"I think it's people coming forward for help because they know there's a government now that not only recognises there's a housing crisis but has said it is going to do its damnedest to put a decent roof over the heads of people who need it."

However, the government came under fire today for raising the maximum price of its Kiwibuild homes in Auckland and Queenstown by $50,000 because of rising land prices and building costs.

It wants to build 100,000 affordable homes for first home buyers over the next 10 years.

Mr Twyford was forced to justify the hike after getting a grilling from National Party housing spokeswoman Judith Collins in Parliament.

"Why did he raise the price of a Kiwibuild house, from his initial promise of $600,000 to $650,000 and only told New Zealanders about it last week?" Ms Collins asked during Question Time.

"Mr Speaker, we raised the price points, the maximum prices in Auckland and Queenstown to $500,000 for one bedroom, $600,000 for a two bedroom place, and $650,000 for three bedrooms or more," Mr Twyford responded.

"For houses outside of Auckland and Queenstown the maximum price for all houses is $500,000."

But National leader Simon Bridges said Labour's flagship Kiwibuild policy was a sham.

"Effectively what Kiwibuild is, is coming in and buying what was already happening and slapping a Kiwibuild label on it, well that's kiwihoax isn't it, that's kiwifraud!"

Mr Bridges said he expected the maximum price points would continue to rise.

"That's probably likely actually because they're not fundamentally putting in lots of new supply, this is supply that is already there."

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