Weekend Sun column

Friday, July 3, 2015

On Monday evening I held a public meeting with Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith and Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller to talk about the Government’s HomeStart scheme and how we can help people get into their first home.

It was a very good meeting with a great turnout and positive feedback. Under the KiwiSaver HomeStart Grant scheme, people can receive a grant of up to $20,000 to help purchase a new build home, or up to $10,000 for an existing home.

The HomeStart Grant is available to people who have been in KiwiSaver for at least three years, and can be used to purchase a home up to the value of $450,000. This initiative will provide $20 million to first home buyers in Tauranga and the Western Bay over the next five years, helping up to 3500 people.

This scheme is just one of the Government’s plans to help first home buyers. We also offer a Welcome Home Loan – a Government guaranteed loan that means you only need a 10% deposit instead of 20%. When the HomeStart Grant and the Welcome Home Loan are combined with a withdrawal from one’s KiwiSaver savings, it makes the dream of owning a home so much more achievable.

The Government has also signed a Housing Accord with the Tauranga City Council, agreeing to work together to address housing supply and affordability by speeding up development. On Monday Minister Smith announced that two more Special Housing Areas have been approved, which will result in an extra 210 houses. This is in addition to the seven areas announced in February, and means land has been freed up for an additional 1900 homes in total.

The Government is committed to tackling the issue of housing affordability and making it easier for people to get onto the property ladder.