The Kākā by Bernard Hickey
House-builders in limbo for longer while Govt focuses on paying for tax cuts

House-builders in limbo for longer while Govt focuses on paying for tax cuts

Govt leaves house builders & CHPs in limbo until 2025 after delaying Kāinga Ora decisions on building plan & rent subsidies; Voters against tax cuts paid for by public spending cuts
The Government is leaving the entire construction sector and the community housing sector in limbo. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The Kākā

TL;DR: The Government released the long-awaited Bill English-led review of Kāinga Ora yesterday, but delayed key decisions on its build plan and how to help community housing providers (CHPs) build or buy homes with capital grants, house transfers rent subsidies until next year.

That leaves the building sector, developers and social housing providers in limbo for longer, and further delays the desperately needed increase in housing supply to deal with the extra 220,000 people living in Aotearoa in the last two years. Building consents per 1,000 residents have fallen by a third to 6.7 over the last two years.

(Paying subscribers can see more detail and analysis below the paywall fold and in the podcast above. We’ll open it up for public reading, listening and sharing if we get over 100 likes)

Here’s my top six ‘pick ‘n’ mix’ of links to news, analysis and opinion articles, announcements, official reports, reviews and research in the last 24 hours or so to 8:47am on Tuesday, May 21:

  1. Housing - The Government released Bill English's report on Kāinga Ora and announced the appointment of a new chair, former Spark and Auckland Airport boss Simon Moutter. But key details on what would happen to Kāinga Ora's build programme, how exactly Community Housing Providers (CHPs) could get some of the capital and rent subsidies that were going to Kāinga Ora were absent. Housing Minister Chris Bishop said he now expected a 'turnaround plan' by the end of the year.

  2. The Government has essentially kicked the hardest decisions down the road to very late this year, or even next year. That leaves the entire construction sector and the community housing sector in limbo, which risks extending the current recession-like period of suspended animation for the economy. The key decisions needed are: who will have access to income related rent subsidies; how much they might increase (if at all), how many net new houses Kāinga Ora and others will build; and, in particular, how Kāinga Ora will deal with a huge bow wave of rebuilds needed as much of the current housing stock reaches the safe, warm and dry end of its life.

  3. Tax Justice Aotearoa releasing results this morning from a poll of 1,000 voters it commissioned showing they don't want tax cuts if they're paid for by massive cuts in public spending and services.

  4. An analysis of the Fast-track Approvals Bill by the Ministry for the Environment and released by Treasury yesterday argues decisions should be taken by expert panels, rather than ministers, who do not have the skills and would would need costly extra advice of their own.

  5. The massive offshore wind project backed by the NZ Super Fund has told ministers in a briefing it can't operate off the Taranaki Coast if seabed mining is allowed to go ahead. It said the dredging of 10m of sands was incompatible with building turbine platforms and running power cables to shore. It was based on this study released in March.

  6. The International Court of Justice in The Hague shocked global politics overnight by asking for arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his defence chief and three Hamas leaders over alleged war crimes. ICC prosecutor Karim Khan said he had reasonable grounds to believe that the five men "bear criminal responsibility" for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity. Reuters

Quotes of the day

Baskets of scorpions?

“Almost every week that goes by, we turn over a new leaf ... and discover a nasty little scorpion running around with a nasty little surprise for the government.” Housing Minister Chris Bishop in a news conference Full conference video.

Buckets of money?

“It's like they've only just realised it costs money to build houses.” Labour Housing Spokesperson Kieran McAnulty via 1News.

Chart of the day

Stats NZ data: “The number of new dwellings consented per 1,000 residents across New Zealand was 6.7 for the year ended March 2024, compared with 9.1 in the year ended March 2023. The record number of new dwellings consented per 1,000 residents was 13.4 in the year ended December 1973.”

Cartoon of the day

Nibbling away

Anthony Ellison via The Listener-$$$ and X.

Timeline-cleansing nature pic of the day

Our shadows

Lynn Grieveson and I on Sunday morning on Wellington’s waterfront. Bernard Hickey for The Kaka.

Mā te wa


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The Kākā by Bernard Hickey
The latest daily snapshot of the news, detail, insight and analysis on geo-politics, the global economy, business, markets and the local political economy for citizens and decision-makers of Aotearoa-NZ.