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Saturday, 21 October 2017 07:49 pm

Passionate plea for Kiwis to vote for “killing capital gain”

Sep 15th, 2017 | By | Category: Latest News, News

The housing crisis panel. From left: Garry Moore of Community Housing Aotearoa, former Mayor of Christchurch, the Opportunities Party’s Geoff Simmons, Labour’s Phil Twyford, New Zealand First’s Denis O’Rourke, and the Green Party’s Julie-Anne Genter.

“Killing capital gain,” was one of several solutions to the housing crisis floated at a Wellington election panel.

The Opportunities Party’s Geoff Simmons was passionate in his demand for comprehensive taxation on housing and an end to land-banking.

Simmons blamed land-banking for the housing shortage, saying people could get richer investing in idle land than in building houses.

The Opportunities Party wants to ‘kill capital gain,’ Simmons said at the meeting focusing on housing issues.

“We want to drive a stake through the heart of the vampire that is capital gain. The housing market that keeps rising from the undead every few years and surging ahead.

“It must die once and for all.”

Simmons said housing was one of the greatest drivers of inequality in New Zealand.

“It’s the reason why rich are getting richer, and it’s the reason why the poor are getting poorer.

“Housing should be seen as a right, as a part of our social infrastructure.”

New Zealand has the lowest taxes on housing internationally, Simmons said.

“We put more of our investments into housing than any other country in the world, and we wonder why we have the highest house prices in the world.

“It’s not rocket science, people. It is happening for a reason.”

Māori Party Deputy Leader Marama Fox focused her on homelessness.

Nothing had been done with the recent Cross-Party Homelessness Inquiry recommendations.

“There are a lot of things we can do to turn homelessness around in a heartbeat right now.”

Fox called for WINZ and Housing New Zealand to treat state housing tenants with dignity and respect.

She referenced several individual cases, saying the system represented “bureaucracy gone frickin’ insane.”

Fox said some people bought houses because they couldn’t afford to save for retirement.

“Talk to people, find out. You don’t need an expert advisory panel that gives you all the data and the crunches and the number.

“Actually, anecdotal evidence is very valid.”

The largely consensus-based event saw politicians agree that housing is a human right rather than a commodity.

Candidates also agreed that the housing market required a government-led solution, and that real estate speculation was detracting from productive investments in businesses and exports.

Green and Labour representatives also attended the event at Victoria University’s Architecture campus, co-hosted by PrefabNZ, the New Zealand Green Building Council and Community Housing Aotearoa.

Julie-Anne Genter of the Greens, and Phil Twyford of the Labour Party agreed on the need for change to the current approach.

Phil Twyford said a change of government at the election would see a reform agenda be implemented.

“It’s going to be the biggest overhaul in housing policy that this country’s seen since the 1930s and the 1940s.”

Economist and author Shamubeel Equab provided a different commentary on the topic, saying the technical solutions are known, but political will is required to implement them.

Homelessness and a low home ownership rate is a tragedy and an outrage, Equab said.

“I can’t believe we’re not marching in the streets.”

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