Thursday, October 21, 2004

Enabling the kiwi dream

According to Stuff, the government is planning on including assistance for first-time home buyers in next year's budget. This is a Good Thing. Quite apart from the economic benefits of encouraging home ownership pointed out recently by the New Zealand Institute, it's always been part of the kiwi dream. We're supposed to be a middle class nation, a "property owning democracy" of people who own their own homes rather than renting. But over the past decade, this dream has been slipping away. While the housing boom has played a role, it is only a proximate cause; the real reasons are the growth in inequality during the 80's and 90's and the student loan scheme (which makes it far more difficult for university graduates to pay off a mortgage). It's good to see the government trying to counter this trend and make the kiwi dream attainable for all (or at least more).