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Budget building materials policy backfires

Phil Twyford

On the eve of this year’s Budget official figures show Nick Smith’s Budget 2014 centrepiece to reduce the cost of building materials has backfired.

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment officials have spent the past two years tracking the 57 building products Nick Smith used for his claim National would make building a house $3500 cheaper.

Two years later plasterboard, the main component in National’s policy, has gone up by $3760 – more than the much-touted savings.

At the same time, of the 57 products monitored, more increased in price than decreased.

Nick Smith’s Budget showpiece has been a complete flop, not unlike his Budget 2015 plan to build houses on cemeteries and exploding sub-stations.

This Minister has made an art form of media stunts and half-measures designed to convey the impression that he is doing something about the housing crisis.

The people of New Zealand want the Government to acknowledge there is a housing crisis and front up with a serious reform programme that includes cracking down on speculators, building actual houses and genuine reform of restrictive planning rules.

Phil Twyford is Member of Parliament elected from Te Atatu and Labour Party’s spokesman on Housing.

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