June 13th, 2024

Labour criticises National's cuts to housing agencies amid tax breaks

As New Zealand grapples with a housing shortage, the National government's latest job cuts in key housing agencies ignite controversy.

Labour criticises National's cuts to housing agencies amid tax breaks

In a move criticised heavily by the Labour Party, the National Government has announced a reduction of 170 jobs at Kāinga Ora and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development. This decision is part of a broader initiative to fund tax cuts, which according to Labour housing spokesperson Kieran McAnulty, compromises the fight against the housing crisis in New Zealand.

What they're saying: Labour's fierce backlash

McAnulty, expressing his disapproval, challenged the National Party's commitment to solving the housing crisis.

"The National Party needs to make its mind up, does it want to end the housing crisis or does it want to see the end of Kainga Ora? It can’t have both," McAnulty said.

He accused the government of prioritising tax breaks for landlords over the construction of much-needed homes, highlighting a growing disconnect between policy and public welfare.

Driving the news: The cost of tax cuts

The job cuts come at a time when New Zealand faces a significant housing shortage, exacerbated by policies that Labour argues benefit landlords over the general populace. The cuts are seen as a means to facilitate $2.9 billion in tax cuts, while key housing and social welfare initiatives remain underfunded and uncertain past 2025.

Details: Labour's achievements and National's record

McAnulty pointed out that during its term, the Labour government added one in six homes to New Zealand's public housing stock, the most significant increase since the 1950s. In contrast, he noted that the current administration under Chris Bishop and Tama Potaka has not only reduced the pace of building new homes but has also seen a reduction in building consents and the cancellation of community housing projects.

The bottom line: A choice with consequences

The reduction in workforce within critical housing agencies signifies a troubling trend under the National government, reminiscent of its previous terms where the number of public homes decreased, and significant funds were extracted as dividends. "They had a choice, and it’s clear they’re choosing tax cuts for landlords over housing Kiwis," McAnulty said, framing the job cuts as part of a broader issue of misaligned governmental priorities.