Big wins in housing will come from regulation, not budgets

Opinion – Housing was not the centerpiece of the 2018 budget. It committed more money for state houses and incorporated tax changes, but the mini Budget in December had already committed the big money for KiwiBuild. More new spending was limited by fiscal restraint. The big wins in reality will come from regulatory change, and that should be the priority for this government.

The crisis in housing has been building for four decades. It took us a long time to get here, we should not expect solutions to be immediate. But for the lost generations, generation rent, the big change the government needs to make is on rental policy. It does not need a budget to make that change.

To really supercharge state house building, the government needs to inject capital over many years. But that is not politically feasible.

This restraint is visible across the budget, including in its housing portfolio.

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