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HOMES IN DOMINION OPPOSITION CRITICISM Parliamentary Reporter. WELLINGTON, this day. Nothing 'condemned the Labour Government more than' the present housing shortage, declared Mr. Morton (Nat., Waitemata), in the House of Representatives yesterday when speaking in the debate on the Housing Improvement Bill. He said that in 1935 it was reported that the shortage of houses was between 4000 and 6000 and now it was between 70,000 and 80,000. That was a tragic state of affairs. Mr. Morton also criticised the cost of building, which, he said, had never been so high. As far as he had been able to discover the cost in New Zealand' was higher than in any other part of the British Empire. In 1920 it was possible to build an average five-roomed house at a cost of 16/ a square foot and to-day, after 10 years of the Labour regime, the cost was 34/. "Why not take off the sales tax on building materials," he asked. The Opposition, he said, had put forward that proposition many times, but never seemed to get an answer. Was the imposition of a sales tax of 20 per cent on bricks, 10 per cent on timber and 20 per cent on practically everything else that went into the construction of a house the way to encourage the people? It meant adding £120 or more on to the cost of the average house. He also said that the latest award of travelling time for carpenters added £40 to the price. There was no greater indictment of the Government, he said, than its entire apathy towards the requirements of the returned soldiers. With large numbers coming home the chances of servicemen getting homes were extremely remote. Private and State Building Mr. Bowden (Nat., Wellington West), said that whenever housing was discussed there seemed t~ be a conflict of opinion as to which should be the correct policy—State constructed houses or homes privately constructed. Personally he desired to see both systems in operation. "When we are the Government," he added, "State housing actiyities will be intensified." A Government member: That will be the day. Mr. Bowden- paid a tribute to what had been done by the Government in the erection of homes for the people, and expressed the hope that the State would extend its operations. Referring to repairs to properties, he contended that if an owner was required by a local authority to spend, say, £500 in repairing a property, then he was entitled to some recompense in the form of a higher rent.- The bill could only succeed if there was the closest co-operation between the Government and the local authorities. He did not like the power given to override local authorities and local bodies' by-laws. He wanted a clarification of the matter of compensation and rent adjustments. Mr. McKeen (Govt., Wellington South), said the housing position to-day made for the overcrowding of existing houses. The time had arrived when a stop should be put to a position that allowed several families to occupy, say, a fiveroomed house. That state of affairs would only cease when sufficient units for occupation were erected. Mr. W. Sullivan (Nat., Bay of Plenty), declared that if homes were to be pulled down other homes had to be provided for the people living in the dwellings it was proposed t*o demolish. The only way to deal with the problem was to evolve a system allowing for more homes to be built at a cheaper rate and on a lower rental basis. Local bodies would have to administer the bill with great caution and see that both the owners and tenants of homes were treated fairly. He did not think the provision allowing local bodies to raise special loans for the purposes of the measure without a poll was a wise one. Where the ratepayer had to foot the bill he should be consulted by way of a poll.

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Bibliographic details

SHORTAGE OF 80,000, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 189, 11 August 1945

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SHORTAGE OF 80,000 Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 189, 11 August 1945