13 Oct 2016

Govt hits back at Labour's affordable housing claims

7:18 am on 13 October 2016

The government has released its own figures to rebut claims by Labour that only 18 homes sold in Auckland's special housing areas in the past three years were affordable.

Nick Smith at a social housing announcement in Northcote

Nick Smith says more than 500 affordable homes have been completed at special housing sites. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Housing Minister Nick Smith said more than 500 homes from two special housing sites have been completed and cost under $650,000.

On Tuesday, Labour released official Auckland Council figures that showed in the past three years, only 18 houses built on special housing areas were declared to be an affordable dwelling.

Labour leader Andrew Little said the government promised the Auckland Housing Accord would deliver urgently needed affordable housing.

He said 18 affordable houses was a woefully poor answer to the housing crisis.

But Dr Smith said Mr Little was not accurately presenting the figures.

He said the were 154 special housing areas in Auckland and since 2013 about 1400 homes had been built on them.

Dr Smith said in one of those areas, at Weymouth, 190 homes were completed for under $650,000, and in Hobsonville there were 327.

"The key error that Mr Little has made in the way he's presented the data is that statutory declarations around the affordability of the houses is not required for all special housing areas, for instance, sites like Weymouth and Hobsonville where the government had its own specific requirements around affordability," Dr Smith said.

Labour Party MP Phil Twyford.

Phil Twyford says the government has refused to count the number of affordable houses built. Photo: RNZ / Mei Heron

But Labour's housing spokesperson Phil Twyford doubted the minister's sincerity.

"It's a bit rich for the government to be saying this data is wrong when they've basically made it their business not to count the number of houses that have been built. Because they've been so humiliated and so embarrassed by the fact that so few houses have been built."

"This data's come under the official information act from the Auckland Council who administer the special housing areas," Mr Twyford said.

Dr Smith said the housing accord, which the special housing areas were under, set out a target of 39,000 additional homes and sections in Auckland by October 2016.

He remained confident of meeting that target.

The final report of the Housing Accord will be released before the end of the year.

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