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Vague figures behind Labour's housing scheme

Monday 19 Nov 2012 6:55 p.m.

By Brook Sabin

The Government has called Labour "irresponsible" for failing to release a detailed costing on its plan to build 100,000 affordable houses.

Each home would cost around $300,000, including land, but that's being labelled little more than a fairy tale.

It is proposed as modern, affordable housing and would be the biggest home building project in 50 years.

“Where we want to start is in Auckland, where the big problem is,” says Labour Housing spokeswoman Annette King.

Under the plan, construction would eventually be ramped up to 10,000 extra homes a year. The Government would stump up $1.5 billion to build the first homes.

It's a major policy, so surely a detailed costing has been done? Ms King says there has been “a detailed cost analysis”. But how much will the houses actually cost to build?

“That is probably around $250,000 – 220 to 250,” says Ms King.

That leaves $50,000 to buy land.

“There is Government land, council land, and out of that money we will buy some more expensive land. You put it together and can sell houses for around $300,000.”

A property professor labels the policy “ambitious”.

“I think over the next year or two they will have to do the costings, and that may hamper their ambition going forward,” says Professor Laurence Murphy of Auckland University Business School.

The Government is a little more blunt.

“I think they need to start again,” says MP Steven Joyce.

But many in the property sector have today applauded Labour for trying to make inroads into the housing crisis because they say the Government has failed to do so. 

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