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Transformative housing policy for Aotearoa New Zealand: A briefing note on addressing the housing crisis.

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Public Policy Institute, University of Auckland, ,

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This report calls for a transformative approach to housing policy in Aotearoa New Zealand, critiquing the current housing crisis from historical, social, and economic perspectives.

As the report notes, housing is essential to the health and well-being of everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand and the nation needs a paradigm shift which seeks to reimagine what the housing system might look like, where housing shifts being a form of commodified intergenerational wealth creation to being a form of wellbeing creation. The authors provide a broad historical overview of the housing sector in Aotearoa New Zealand, focusing on the role of different governments and the varying policy successes and failures. The report emphasises the need for a paradigm shift in housing policy that includes decentring homeownership, decolonising housing policy, democratising housing policymaking, and decommodifying housing. The authors propose ten policy ideas aimed at addressing the crisis, including the establishment of a Ministry of Public Works, a green investment bank, and a state lending agency, transferring regulation of mortgage lending to parliament, enabling public sector leadership for housing policy, supporting tino rangatiratanga in housing policy, fair taxation of housing, expanding state and community housing, enhancing the rights of renters, and tackling homelessness. These policies are rooted in understanding the housing crisis as not only an economic issue but also a reflection of deeper societal inequities, particularly affecting Māori communities. The authors argue that a properly coordinated housing system – integrated with the rest of our public policy – should be embedded in tikanga, centring kāinga and whanau, and focusing on decolonising existing housing policies. They believe that at the heart of a new system should be whānau wellbeing – kāinga ora, whānau ora – and that the whanau wellbeing paradigm must be embedded democratically in all housing policy, practice and service design, development and delivery.

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