11 Nov 2012

Government urged to move housing up the priority list

9:59 am on 11 November 2012

The Government is being urged to make the provision of good housing as much a priority as it does health, education or new roads.

A property developer and a social agency both say the public sector must play a bigger part in addressing Auckland's housing problems.

House construction in Auckland is running at around one third of the level needed to match the growing population.

Developer Mark Todd says rising land prices mean the private sector on its own won't be interested in trying to build for buyers with modest budgets.

Mr Todd says if health and education outcomes had fallen as sharply as home affordability, the Government would have acted more decisively.

The Salvation Army says at present the Government considers new highways a higher priority than funding new social housing.

National director of social policy Major Campbell Roberts said there needs to be a shift of attitude on housing which should be considered essential infrastructure.

Major Roberts said rental subsidies provided by the Government are too low to make it viable for new rental housing to be built.