Latest NZ housing affordability data leaves home ownership 'completely otherworldly' for some Kiwis - expert

The latest data showing four out of five New Zealand renters would struggle to make mortgage repayments, casts doubt over the affordability of rent itself, a housing expert says.

The New Zealand Housing Affordability Survey data released yesterday painted a damning picture of house prices across the country, with nearly every major city having become less affordable from 2016 to 2017.

Lifewise chief executive Moira Lawler says the data makes homeownership an "othewordly" prospect for many struggling Kiwis.

"The question this begs for me is if people who are renting would struggle to make mortgage payments, how are they doing making their rent payments?" she says.

"The people we work with, we work with street homeless and young homeless, those people are struggling to make rent, so the aspiration that one day they would buy a house is completely unrealistic."

Ms Lawler said it's Lifewise's expectation that things will get worse before they get better.

"It's harder and hard to find properties in Auckland. What you can find is expensive, and what is most worrying, is often of a reduced quality too. So there's lots that has to be done to improve the situation of renters," she said.

"Yes we're concerned about the amount of housing available, we have to do something to increase housing.

"But in the meantime we have to make renting a more secure proposition and improve the quality of housing people are living in."

Read more about the full Housing Affordability Measure (HAM) data released yesterday.

The latest NZ Housing Affordability Survey reports four out of five renters would struggle to make mortgage repayments. Source: Breakfast

Person critically injured in seven vehicle crash on Auckland's Northern Motorway

One person has been critically injured in a large crash involving seven vehicles this morning on Auckland's Northern Motorway.

Emergency Services were notified of the crash at Dairy Flat about 6am.

The crash happened on the southbound lanes at section 2C, between the Silverdale off-ramp and the Oteha Valley Rd off-ramp, and near the Bawden St over-bridge.

NZTA says all lanes have been cleared and open but "significant congestion remains".

Motorists are advised to be patient or consider using alternative routes.



Government's $17m boost for Auckland drug rehab 'merely the beginning', and more 'drastic' action needed, says counsellor

The Government's decision to boost Auckland drug rehabilitation facilities by $17 million has been praised by an addiction counsellor, but his praise is also tempered by his observation the funds are "merely the begnning" needed to combat the problem.

Ex-drug addict turned addiction counsellor at Red Door Recovery, Andrew Hopgood, said the money for 30 new detoxification beds at the Auckland City Mission would undoubtedly "change a lot of lives", but the destructive reach of methamphetamine meant each major New Zealand city needed a new rehab facility.

"It's a good start so thank you to the Government for doing that," Mr Hopgood said on TVNZ1's Breakfast today. 

"It's merely the beginning, it's a bit like putting a band-aid on a broken arm.

Mr Hopgood said New Zealand's drug rehab system was "extreemly underfunded" and "bursting".

"I think we need to do something drastic. Like, if we were to take a whole lot of ex-clients with a good few years clean under their belt. Mentor them through... Welltec has an awesome life changing drug and alcohol course, three-years for a bachelor.

"Mentor them through that, set up a couple of new rehabs, put them through. A lot of rehabs these days they're not forward thinking." 

Also key was matching the counsellor to the addict.

"We need a new rehab, one in each major city. But we need the clinicians. You can open up all the rehabs you want but we need the clinicians, and we need to match the clinicians to the client. No use putting Mr Gangster in front of Ms Doubtfire"

Mr Hopgood also said the problem of meth is "very widespread".

"In rehab at the moment we have an awesome young 18-year-old girl, and we've got a 45-year-old man," he said.

"All walks of life, I've had lawyers, I've had people straight out of school. I've had gangsters, I've had people straight out of jail , I've had nurses, I've had school teachers, you name it."

The Government is injecting $17m into the charity for more drug treatment facilities. Source: Breakfast