Labour claims new Home-Start scheme 'vastly underperforming'

The $435 million Home-Start scheme was introduced on April 1 last year.

Labour has warned one of the government's policies to help first-time buyers is "vastly underperforming" and having little impact in Auckland, New Zealand's largest city.

The $435 million Home-Start scheme was introduced on April 1 last year. The government aims to help 90,000 people buy a home over five years. The scheme means buyers are able to get a grant of up to $10,000 to buy an existing property or $20,000 to buy a new property.

In its first year of operation, 11,943 people used the scheme and there were grants of $55.6 million. In a statement, Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith said it was "almost double the number and value taken up under the more narrow previous scheme the year before."

But Labour's housing spokesman Phil Twyford argued the scheme was "vastly underperforming" on figures put forward before the election. He said the government had anticipated 17,466 people would access $81.3 million. He said: "Fewer people are getting less money than they promised."

Labour said just 9% of the grants were for homes in Auckland, "the city that has the largest housing problem."

(BusinessDesk)

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