We are now in the back quarter of the year with only eight sitting weeks left in Parliament and the Government is continuing to make good progress on a range of key issues. An area of ongoing focus is housing.
National is committed to addressing the challenge of housing and we have a comprehensive plan to achieve that. From 1 August 2016, some important changes to the HomeStart scheme came into effect that will help more New Zealanders get into their first home.
We’ve lifted the house price limits for existing houses by $50,000 and for new-builds by $100,000, as well as lifting income limits to enable more New Zealanders to access government grants of up to $20,000 per couple to put towards a deposit on their own home.
Earlier this month an additional $24 million was allocated to community housing providers to increase the supply of social housing in Auckland. This was in addition to the $120.1 million announced in Budget 2016 for new social housing places in Auckland. I was pleased to see the Auckland Council adopt the Auckland Unitary Plan. It was crucial that the outdated plans from the eight former councils was replaced with a modern, unified plan that enables Auckland to meet its growing needs in terms of housing, business and infrastructure development.
Also in late August, I welcomed the Police decision to prioritise burglaries and put in place a policy where all house break-ins are to be attended either by a sworn officer or scene of crime officer. While burglary rates are still below that of recent years, there has been an increase over the past 12 months. Police has responded by raising dwelling burglary to a priority offence. Dwelling burglaries are one of the most invasive offences. This new policy shows the Police are serious about tackling burglary and also sends a clear message to offenders.
Given the nature of policing there will be occasions where they cannot attend a dwelling burglary for a range of reasons, including adhering to the wishes of the victim. However, the Commissioner of Police has made his expectations clear. The Government remains positive about our country’s future and continues to work to help every New Zealander fulfil their potential.
Judith Collins | MP for Papakura