Political Games Are Not A Housing Solution – Dunne

Parliament wasted two days this week debating the Housing Legislation Amendment Bill under Urgency.

An inept mixture of opposition political gamesmanship and Government organisation meant that the Bill was essentially filibustered by the Opposition.

“We spent 17 hours arguing about a Bill that has the potential to add up to 9000 additional houses to Auckland market,” said UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne.

“The Bill itself was fairly innocuous and was addressing a timing issue between previous legislation and upcoming district plans, as well as an obvious impetus to continue building more houses in regions that require additional supply.

“This was a Bill that most parties actually agree with, the argument was about if we could do more.

“The Government let the ball drop by putting this Bill up as an omnibus Bill, but the Opposition tactic of  tabling unworkable  housing plans that were ill-considered and  hastily drawn up as Supplementary Order Papers, was simply a waste of time.

“It costs roughly $43,000 an hour to run Parliament, so this Bill cost us over $700,000 and you really have to ask if this was the best way to serve the people of New Zealand on the issue of housing.

“Let’s put this in context, UnitedFuture advocates for a non-partisan housing summit hosted by the Government with input from all the relevant stakeholders.

“With the money we spent on this Bill, we could have flown in 100 housing experts from industry, social housing and regional government, paid for their flights and accommodation and hosted a housing summit at Parliament.

“The cost of doing that, if we take extreme approximations of $1000 return flights, and $1000 accommodation for a night in Wellington would have cost $200,000, less  than a third of the cost of this Parliamentary time-waste we have seen and that’s an extreme estimate.

“I think it is high time that we realised that the issues around housing will not be solved by political point scoring and we need a long term approach guided by the sectors that will implement the housing solutions.

“That is why a housing summit that brings together all the interested and relevant parties is well overdue and, evidently, one of the cheaper alternatives available to us right now.