Jacinda Ardern’s landslide victory in October’s general election gives Labour a mandate to govern for a second term, this time without their New Zealand First coalition partner.

Our research volunteer Bill Golden asks whether Jacinda Ardern's landslide victory, on the back of tackling the pandemic and domestic terrorism, stands her in good stead to deal with New Zealand's knottiest public policy challenge - its longstanding housing crisis:

New Zealand has the highest rate of homelessness in the OECD. Labour were elected in 2017 to take action on Aotearoa New Zealand’s housing crisis, commissioning the ‘Housing Stocktake’ report to investigate the scale of the problem.

Alongside the flagship KiwiBuild programme, the party campaigned on a capital gains tax, a stronger 'brightline test' for residential property speculation, and a ban on foreign buyers.

Following a mixed first term, a key question is what does a re-elected Labour government means for housing and for empty homes?

Despite enacting the foreign buyers ban and extending the brightline, economist Shamubeel Eaqub argues Jacinda Ardern’s government’s efforts to improve affordability failed in its first term.

Data from Real Estate.co.nz shows an average increase in asking price of 11.5% compared to 2019,while in 2018 'The Economist' rated New Zealand’s real estate the most overvalued in the world.

Census data suggests that despite restrictions on foreign ownership the vacancy rate in Auckland remains around the long-term trend of 7%. While many believe that foreign speculators seeking capital gains are leaving homes empty, the evidence for this is ambiguous. Labour has taken action against foreign investors, but this has not sufficiently supressed demand to make up for low rates of house building.

In their 2020 manifesto, Labour committed to increasing housing supply. Whether they will be able to use their new majority to introduce the measures needed to make good on this commitment remains to be seen.

Polling shows that housing issues are incredibly important to many voters, especially among the Maori and Pacific minorities.

Despite Ardern’s 2017 commitment to build 100,000 state houses in a decade, construction rates in her last term were far below this target. Property information company CoreLogic shows investors, rather than homebuyers, are still dominating the New Zealand housing market. Without stronger action to tackle this, Ardern risks repeating the failures of successive New Zealand governments.