100,000 new affordable houses. Backed up by a clear workable plan for achieving it, and an ideological shift to embrace the possibility of the government as a practical force for change. All eloquently set out in David Shearer's excellent speech to Party conference (which you can find here, including fact sheets!).
This is a seismic change in New Zealand politics. It is part of Labour's evolution into an organisational and political force for change based on — and proud of — social democratic values: fairness, freedom and solidarity.
The whole direction of change is as I described in my previous post. Labour is becoming more open, more democratic, more relevant to the day to day challenges New Zealnders face — and the hopes we all share for the country's future.
So having a large number of new houses built at an affordable price point is a real prize for people. It will change the chances people have to get into home ownership.
It isn't a panacea. It isn't Labour's complete housing policy and wasn't intended to be. But it offers a whole stack of positives:
- More houses at a more affordable price, esp. in Auckland
- A more sustainable building industry with more jobs
- Higher skills and productivity in that industry due to higher, more stable demand
- A higher level of building --> economies of scale --> lower per unit costs for everyone including private construction
- Hopefully lower costs for existing property, having a wider effect across the whole housing market
It's hard to see downsides, and the best thing about such a practical, workable policy is that there is no way National can copy it. Their ideology forbids it, their supporters hate it, their principles oppose it and they and their proxies will lie and spin any way they can to try and oppose it.