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Labour 'dreaming' with housing plan – property developer

Monday 26 Nov 2012 4:46 p.m.

By Brook Sabin

Labour leader David Shearer hit the streets today, on a mission to prove his affordable home policy will actually work.

But one of Auckland’s top property experts has offered Mr Shearer some advice: start buying caravans, because it's not going to happen.

Publicity stunts don't always go to plan, and Mr Shearer found that out today as he showed off a low-cost subdivision.

Just over a week ago Labour announced, if elected, it would build 100,000 homes – many in Auckland – selling for just $300,000 each.

Construction costs would make up $220,000-250,000 of that, leaving just $50,000-$80,000 for the section.

When asked if he knew the average section price in Auckland, Mr Shearer says, “it depends where the section's going to be”.

The average section price in Auckland is actually $300,000.

Prime Minister John Key says Labour’s plan is unworkable.

“I think they're in fantasy land,” he says.

But not so, says Mr Shearer, who today showed off two Auckland subdivisions – built by a charity – containing $300,000 homes. Labour says the sections cost about $50,000.

But property developer Olly Newland sees it differently.

“It's a nice idea, but they're dreaming,” he says.

He says it simply isn't possible to bulk buy cheap land in Auckland.

“I don't know where you can get land for $50,000 – possibly in Mosgiel out of Dunedin.

“I think it will cost five times as much, it would be cheaper to buy 100,000 caravans.”

Mr Shearer set out to prove today that his housing policy could work, but one important aspect was absent from today's tour – those $50,000-$80,000 sections needed to make Labour's sums add up.

And the Government says that's simply because hardly any of them exist.

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