Article: Speak Easy

Minor Parties:  Their Housing  Promises with Michael BoturMinor Parties:  Their Housing Promises with Michael Botur

As of August 22, we have 16 registered political parties, including two brand spanking new ones, the Outdoors Party and the NZ People’s Party. All parties offer plenty of great housing policies, but here are a few particularly interesting ones from the smallest parties, in their own words.

The Maori Party will:
• Create a Minister for Maori and Pacific Housing
• Require the government to set a target to eliminate homelessness by 2020.
• Address the over representation of Maori and Pacific whanau in severe housing
• Build 90,000 affordable houses by 2022 (60,000 in Auckland and 30,000 in other
areas where there is severe housing deprivation).
• Review the bond refund system and create fairer and more streamlined
processes to get bonds released sooner.

• Will take half of the 34,000 new houses soon to be built in Auckland and
offer them as rental properties under a rent-to-own programme.  “These rental
properties would be offered at market rents to people who do not currently own
their own home, and for whom the likelihood of ever saving for a deposit is
remote.” UnitedFuture’s Rent-to-Own policy allows renters to accumulate a
deposit via their rent payments.” A portion of every rental payment “will act
like a mortgage payment, allowing tenants to own an increasing proportion of
the property.”

NZ People’s Party:
• Interest-free first home deposit loan as well as a 5 year interest free loan for first
home buyers
• First home buyers will receive $60,000 if buying outside of Auckland, and $100
for buying within Auckland. “Buyers will be entitled to just one loan per
property which must be paid back before they buy any other properties or
interest will be charged.”

Mana Movement (pretty much a Northland-based party these days)
• A ban on “foreigners” buying existing houses
• A rigorous capital gains tax to force speculators to sell excess houses
• Make “foreigners” build new homes rather than be allowed to buy existing
• Allow whanau to capitalise child benefits or use Kiwisaver as a first home

Democrats for Social Credit: (pretty much also a Northland-based party these days)
• Low or nil interest Reserve Bank loans for first home buyers and qualifying people
on low incomes, with the term set so that repayments are affordable.

The Opportunities Party:
• Change regulations around residential tenancy law to match the German
approach. Default standard lease will make it far easier for a tenant to remain in
premises long term. TOP will restrict the conditions under which a landlord can
evict a tenant to those of non-payment of rent or property damage. Sale of a
property is not necessarily a legitimate reason for eviction.
• Gifting Housing NZ stock to community housing provider
• Closing the tax loopholes around housing would mean those sitting on bare land
would get a tax bill. Along with stopping the rise in land prices, this is a pretty
strong incentive for owners and banks to get building so that the asset can realise
its value.
• Make sure all assets (minus debt) are liable for at least as much tax as if that
money were in a bank deposit. “We would gradually introduce the tax so that
house prices were kept stable. By ensuring it is treated the same as any other asset this will kill off speculation in housing. Housing will become again an asset
that provides shelter from the storm, rather than shelter from tax.”

The Outdoors Party:
• Zero policies on housing, as of August 23

Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party:
• This party has no housing policies listed, as of 4.20pm, August 23. I sort of don’t
think they will have any housing policies formulated by the time the election
arrives, either.

Michael Botur has published journalism in NZ Herald, Herald on Sunday, Sunday Star-Times and Mana and he writes a lot of fiction. He moved to Whangarei in 2015 and was ecstatic to be able to afford a house here.

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