Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern wasn’t able to promise that today’s housing announcement will guarantee first-home buyers will be able to step on to the property ladder.
But, she said it will “make a difference” to bring down demand for housing and increase supply.
The Government today announced it would pump almost $4 billion into housing supply to boost development.
It's also making more first home buyers eligible for grants and loans and is doubling the bright-line test in today's housing package.
“We want our first home buyers to be able to get into the market. So much of what we’re doing today is about them. We do hope that over time, this will make a difference,” Ardern said.
She said the announcement was “balanced” and “pulls every lever that we have”.
Anybody who had seen the package today would be “under no doubt” the package tried to “tilt the playing field towards first home buyers”, she added.
“This will make a difference. I absolutely believe that. But, we are also very aware there is no silver bullet when it comes to something as complex as a housing crisis.”
However, National leader Judith Collins has described the Government’s package to address the country's housing crisis as "another cheap swipe at landlords".
Collins said the package would see fewer houses being built.
"By removing interest deductions and doubling the bright-line test, fewer houses will be built, fewer houses will be available for rent, rents will increase, and more kids will grow up in motels,” she wrote on Twitter.
ACT Housing spokesperson Brooke van Velden said the package was an “expensive band-aid”.
“Today’s housing package is all about blaming Mum and Dad investors without properly acknowledging why they’ve invested in housing – lack of supply has driven up houses prices,” she said in a statement.
She said the extension of the bright-line test was “capital gains tax by stealth”, something Ardern had ruled out so long as she was Prime Minister.
The bright-line property rules taxes money made on an additional house as income, if it is sold within a certain period of time. It does not apply to the family home.
“On supply, the Government is partially right – investment is needed to get infrastructure like roads and services to vacant land so more houses can be built,” van Velden said.
“But it isn’t required for just state house building, as today’s package is, it’s needed for all house building.”