Finance Minister blames local government for Auckland's housing crisis

By Wepiha Te Kanawa

The Minister of Finance Bill English has put Auckland's housing crisis down to the lack of effort by local government.

Mr English said it was caused by rising land prices caused largely by "distortions of the planning process on the Auckland property market" making for a lengthy process.  However some Aucklanders are even finding it difficult to keep up with their rent.

It's not a far cry from reality for some Aucklanders, with many taking desperate measures to provide shelter for their families.

Labour MP Louisa Wall says, “People in Manurewa, for example, the reality of living in a tent is something more people are experiencing, people living in cars, and it is because we don’t have adequate housing stock.”

This six-man tent was advertised on Trade Me for rent, as a way to highlight the housing crisis in Auckland.

The Salvation Army has teamed up with AUT to highlight this issue.  Low incomes and a rise in house prices are some of the contributing factors.

Jason Dilger of the Salvation Army says, “As rent comes up, the income of our people isn't matching the increases, and it's just getting tougher and tougher.  You get a higher percentage of household income committed to paying rent.”

This morning, Finance Minister Bill English blamed local government for the crisis stating that their lack of effort for housing and poor planning has caused poverty. 

Labour MP Jacinda Ardern says, “Just to say the way to resolve this situation is to build smaller and smaller accommodation.  It's not the answer, we only need to look at the centre of Auckland, where all of our deprivation is now, to see the consequences of that kind of response.”

Te Kāea tried to contact the Auckland City Council about the minister’s comments, blaming them for the cause of poverty but no-one returned our calls.