• Housing crisis or not? John Key’s legacy sparks conflicting views

    Outgoing New Zealand Prime Minister John Key will be remembered for a lot of things but the housing crisis, that some argue he created, may well be one of his lasting legacies.

    Property Institute of New Zealand Chief Executive Ashley Church says that although the Institute is sometimes at odds with the Government over the shape and pace of solutions to the housing crisis – it should be remembered that those problems are the result of a strong economy and of New Zealand being a place that people want to live.

    “The reason we don’t have enough houses in Auckland is mostly because of the very large numbers of people moving here from other countries – and they’re doing that because they see New Zealand as a strong, successful country in which they can get ahead and raise their kids, Church said.

    Mr Church notes that Key has achieved this at a time when most of the rest of the world is in economic turmoil and says that history will judge Key as one of our greatest ever leaders.

    The Housing Accord’s three-year target of 39,000 new homes and sections is reportedly likely to fall short by around 1,000, with just 7,000 actual new builds in the last year, according to Radio New Zealand.

    “The Housing Accord was National’s flagship policy to fix the Auckland housing crisis and it clearly isn’t working,” Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said.

    “John Key and Nick Smith have spent three years trumpeting the Special Housing Areas (SHA), but there are now almost 100 Auckland suburbs where the median price is over $1 million and some SHAs still don’t have any new homes built in them.

    “The Government’s supply-side ‘fix’ to the housing affordability problem is failing and the home-ownership dream is now more out of reach for working families than ever before.

    “Areas like Waitakere used to be affordable for families on average incomes but now there aren’t any western suburbs with median prices less than the $600,000 Kiwisaver Homestart limit.”

    Auckland’s Action Against Poverty (AAAP) agree and say Key’s three-term reign only increased inequality.

    “AAAP do not see John Key’s resignation as a time for celebration, but instead a time for our group and many others to push for a total reversal of National’s war on the poor,” AAAP spokesperson Vanessa Cole says.

    “This is not a time to stop resisting, but to continue organising against the neoliberal assault on unemployed and low-waged workers.

    “John Key has left behind a legacy of increased inequality, increased incarceration, and a housing crisis rendering whole families homeless.