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Housing top of McAnulty wishlist

Measures to boost Wairarapa’s housing supply and support the tradespeople who construct it are at the top of Labour list MP Keiran McAnulty’s wish list for next Thursday’s Budget.

“New residential consents have fallen off a cliff, and if we are not consenting new houses, there’ll be fewer in the pipeline, and the housing shortage will get worse, and prices and rents will rise,” Labour’s spokesperson for housing told the Times-Age.

Data supplied by Infometrics shows housing consents have indeed slowed up in the region in the past 12 months.

In the March 2024 quarter, 87 new residential building consents were issued in Wairarapa, compared with 112 in the same quarter last year.

On an annual basis, the number of consents in Wairarapa decreased by 19.1 per cent compared with the previous 12-month period.

This compares with a 24.9 per cent decrease in consent across New Zealand in the same period.

McAnulty said the scrapping of the First Home Grant, which was announced by housing minister Chris Bishop earlier this week, was a “let down” for new home buyers.

“Let’s hope this isn’t a sign of more things to come from the Budget.”

On the topic of state housing, McAunulty said he’d “fought like hell to get [it] back in our region”.

“If the Budget doesn’t contain funding to keep that going, that’d be a kick in the guts for people desperate for a home.”

He also expressed concern that sluggish housebuilding activity would adversely effect local jobs and people’s ability to weather the cost of living crisis.

“I’m worried about our local tradespeople and am looking for assurances that the Government will back them. There has been a lot of talk, but now is the time for action.

“I will be looking for more concrete measures to build more houses, help Wairarapa people with the cost of living, and follow through with the promises they have made.”

He hoped to see “real cost of living relief” in the Budget.

“Councils have been forced to put rates up because of the Government scrapping water reform. Insurance premiums are skyrocketing – what’s the government doing about this? If tax cuts don’t cover the slowing in wage growth and increase in costs the Government has imposed, then workers and retirees will be going backwards.”

Support for local health assets in the next Budget was another area of interest for McAnulty: “Masterton Hospital desperately needs an extension”, he said.

“If Labour had been re-elected, this would have happened, so I hope this Government doesn’t ignore the need for it. I also hope the rural health strategy that I helped bring in gets the funding it needs.”

On the hot-button issue of speed restrictions in the region, McAnulty pointed out that “the National Party made some big promises to Wairarapa in the campaign – notably, that speed restrictions would be reversed, and the Judds Road intersection would be kept open”.

New speed limits came into force between Masterton and Featherston in late January last year, including the reduction of the open road speed limit from 100km/h to 80km/h on State Highway 2 between Featherston and Masterton.

Despite the National Party campaigning specifically about reversing the blanket speed reductions, the Minister of Transport Simeon Brown announced in March that this may not be implemented until the end of 2025.

“Both will require funding for upgrades. I hope these won’t be added to the growing list of broken promises,” McAnulty said.

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