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PM raises National's housing record in clash with Collins over soaring prices

The housing crisis dominated much of Parliament's first question time session today - with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Opposition leader Judith Collins debating solutions to soaring prices.

Earlier, Collins told media it was "bizarre" after "having come into Government in 2017 on a big housing agenda, KiwiBuild was the answer, all of a sudden after three years of failure, apparently it's all the public's fault".

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Ardern said she would "forever find it galling to be lectured by the leader of the Opposition" on housing. Source: 1 NEWS

Yesterday, the Prime Minister faced criticism over comments saying there was no public appetite for taxation to get the housing market under control. She denied passing blame to New Zealanders for soaring house prices. 

"The appetite for some of these policies also needs to come from the public," she told TVNZ 1's Breakfast show yesterday. "We've tried three times now to do things that specifically sit in that taxation category and there hasn't been wide support for that."

"Actually, that is not the only lever that exists."

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Jacinda Ardern says public bears some responsibility for housing crisis after failed taxation attempts

During question time, Collins asked who was to blame for house prices rising 37 per cent in the current Government's first term. 

"Perhaps the member would like to tell us who is to blame for the 65 per cent increase we had under National," Ardern replied.

"The difference is, I do not accept that it is acceptable to continue to see house price rises that lift housing out of reach of first home buyers." 

"What I will not do is apportion blame to anyone," Ardern said. "We do not accept that those house price increases are okay. We do not believe there is no lever that can be pulled to stabilise what we're seeing in the market."

"A big issue here is whether you take political ownership for trying to fix the problem, National never did."

The Government has asked for advice around the bright-line test, with Ardern describing it as "absolutely the right thing to do" in the current environment.

"We need to know what levers are and aren't making a difference."

"We know in a very short space of time we have seen extraordinary house price increases, we are not the only country experiencing that and that is why, with the mandate we have, that we are responding to concerns raised by the public around that and we are waiting for advice that we will consider in the New Year."

National's housing spokesperson Nicola Willis shortly after suggested five "solutions to the housing crisis that do not involving hiking tax". 

It included strengthening the national policy statement on urban development, removing the Auckland urban boundary, making Kāinga Ora capital available to community housing providers with shovel-ready plans, establishing a housing infrastructure fund and implementing new finance models.

"In a time of crisis with some of the most unaffordable house prices in the world, rapidly reducing rates of home ownership and more than 20,000 New Zealanders waiting for a state house, the Government must be open to fresh thinking," Willis said.