By Jim Birchall
The Government is so haphazard on housing that the Minister of Finance wasn’t even aware Kainga Ora has been spending millions buying houses out from under the nose of potential first-home buyers, National’s Housing spokesperson Judith Collins claims.
Information supplied to the National Party by Housing Minister Megan Woods, shows Kainga Ora – formerly Housing NZ – purchased five properties on Nelson St in Howick for $4.8 million last year.
Ms. Collins joined Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown at the Nelson St address on Friday (February 14) where the houses sold for an average of $972,000 each after attending a SuperBlues (the National Party’s advisory group for seniors) meeting at Howick Bowling Club.
Calling Kainga Ora’s actions “a concerning practice” she stated the money “could be used elsewhere”, while Mr Brown added the government should be “developing their own land, not buying off developers”.
“The Finance Minister was red-faced at Select Committee today after being told this was happening on his watch,” Collins said.
“How can this Government credibly claim to be looking out for first-home buyers when it is spending so much public money buying homes in Auckland before others can get a sniff?
“Rather than spending almost $5 million on just five houses to inflate its state housing portfolio, the Government should be building new houses elsewhere.”
Collins said she was aware of other houses in Auckland that have been purchased by Kainga Ora at a cost of nearly a million per house.
“This Government cannot be trusted on housing. KiwiBuild has been a complete disaster while many of the state houses the Government claims to have built were either contracted or already under construction when the previous National Government was in power,” she said.
“It’s a tragedy that almost 15,000 families are waiting for state houses under this Government because of its inability to build houses and its meddling in the rental market.
The previous National Government built more than 3200 state houses and left office with more than 27,000 homes in the development pipeline, she said.
“If elected this year we will restart our good work by actually delivering on our policies and getting rid of the RMA.”
Earlier at the lively SuperBlues meeting, Collins championed her party’s line of removing regulations to increase economic productivity, in a so-called ‘regulation bonfire’, should it be elected after September’s general election.
Collins also made her feelings on Jacinda Ardern’s alleged disdain for the farming community, by saying “she (Ardern) doesn’t like rural people..blames farmers for everything” and objected to Arden’s alleged disrespect for the older generation, ones who “have been around longer than she has” and stated she saw this as symptomatic of “the nastiness of international socialism”.
Green MP Chloe Swarbrick, famous for her “OK Boomer” comments, was also in the firing line with Collins calling her a “silly child” who had exhibited “stupid behaviour” by referring to a National MP with apparent disdain.