Viewpoint – Housing affordability tackled

Doesn’t time fly? It’s almost been a year since I became a Member of Parliament and was soon in the thick of it as Government tackles some big problems.
There is increasing homelessness in Rodney, which we are trying to address; I recently helped get a man who was living in his car into emergency housing and I am frequently sent messages from Rodney residents expressing concern at the lack of affordability of housing in the area.

That is why we now have a law to stop overseas speculators buying Kiwi houses. I believe that this is going to help more Kiwi families get into a home. The law means that potential homeowners won’t have to compete with well-funded overseas buyers to get into a home.
I believe it is a privilege for overseas people to buy New Zealand land, not a right. The Government has made it clear that the law needed to change so we only allow foreign investment in New Zealand land where there is real gain to New Zealanders – such as more homes and more jobs.

The law only allows foreign investors to buy residential property if they are going to build more houses, or construct important economic assets such as supermarkets, hotels, and utilities. It aims to prevent wealthy foreigners driving up prices of our homes and outbidding people who live here. No longer will speculators be allowed to buy an existing Kiwi house just to rent it out, or leave it empty and profit from capital gain. We have many examples of this in Rodney and it’s not acceptable. The new law is another step in the Government’s plan to address New Zealand’s housing crisis. Alongside this is KiwiBuild, our state house building programme; the Healthy Homes standards for rentals; insulation grants, and tax policy changes to discourage property speculation.

Hope for teachers
Many of you will have been affected by the teachers’ strike on August 15. On that day the primary teachers and principals took their claims for better pay and working conditions to Parliament. Minister Tracey Martin and I were there, as the Prime Minister explained that we have been working since day one to reduce teacher workload and rebuild public education. There is a focus on fixing the teacher shortage and the parties have gone back to the bargaining table. I am hopeful that an agreement will be reached.