19 May 2015

Budget to include housing supply measures

5:25 pm on 19 May 2015

As the Government faces ongoing pressure over the spiralling prices in the Auckland housing market, the Finance Minister has confirmed there will be initiatives to increase supply in Thursday's Budget.

Bill English holding the 2015 Government Budget.

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Bill English made his traditional inspection of printed copies of the Budget, hot off the press in Petone, ahead of Thursday's Budget.

Mr English described the budget as fair and responsible, but was playing down expectations.

"It is not a good scheme for Government to have the whole Government machine focussed on one annual event and a lolly scramble as to about whether they got more money or not.

"Government these days has to be a much more service-orientated organisation."

He was asked whether there would be more initiatives to increase housing supply.

"Yep, that sort of measure," he said. "And as I've said, you could look at that in the Budget and say 'well that's a small measure', but when you put together all the announcements over the last three or four months, we have a very substantial programme on housing, focused as our top priority on increasing supply."

Later, Housing Minister Nick Smith was asked for more details.

"The Government has always said that there's no single magic formula to getting on top of Auckland's housing challenges.

"We did things in last year's Budget, we've done things since and we'll be doing some more on Thursday."

He declined to be more any more specific."It's only two more days," he said. "Christmas is coming!"

Labour Party leader Andrew Little said the Government had to take a lead on meeting housing demand in Auckland. But he had some caveats.

"It has to be at the affordable level. It can't be a bunch of sort of McMansions and others...it has got to be at the 350 to 500,000 level...

"It can't be the high-value 750 [to] million dollar type houses."

Mr English will deliver his Budget on Thursday from 2pm.

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