Labour Party’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says competition is essential to cut the costs of building materials. Even though New Zealander’s face lower incomes than their Australian counterparts, it costs up to 30% more to build a house here.
In particular Twyford is concerned about German headquartered Knauf Plasterboard after it’s operation here was being examined. The company currently operates in a New Zealand plasterboard market. However it’s being overshadowed by Fletcher Building.
Twyford insists that building competition will lower costs of building materials. He is urging the Commerce Commission to release findings from an investigation into the wallboard market.
The Productivity Commission is also concerned about the lack of building materials competition. They claim it costs up to 30% more to build a home here than it does to build one in Australia. According to the NZ Herald,
“Twyford said Fletcher Building subsidiary Winstone Wallboard’s 94 per cent share of the wallboard market was bad for the building industry, house buyers and the property market.”
However the Building and Construction Minister Nick Smith isn’t concerned. He told NZ Herald, “It’s well-established that ministers or MPs shouldn’t be interfering in the independence of the commission.”