WATCH: Cost-Rental and Rezoning Windfall reform key to Housing for All

Full speech transcript:

I welcome the Housing for All plan. I think one of the key issues regarding the housing crisis facing renters and people looking to buy is affordability and people being unable to find suitable homes. We are talking about a home, not just a house or a place to stay. To build communities is at the heart of Housing for All.

One of the things driving that affordability is the roll-out of cost rental. Cost rental is an incredibly important way of controlling rents for those who are able to access cost rental. It has been shown to have the effect of reducing rents and putting a downward pressure on rents generally across all rental accommodation, so it is very welcome to see. As well as driving affordability, cost rental has been a key component of Green Party housing policy for quite some time. We fought for it in the programme for Government negotiations and in respect of the Housing for All plan, and it is great to see that the Green Party policy of cost rental is now central in Housing for All and in delivering affordability.

I also wish to talk about the measures introduced to share the increase in value from zoning. This is incredibly important legislation. I refer to financial management to reduce speculation that is driving up costs and making life hard for those seeking homes to rent and to buy. This is an important measure and one the Green Party introduced when we were last in government to try to take the legs out from under land speculation. It was referred to in the Kenny report all those years ago and we finally implemented it. Unfortunately, it was removed in 2015 by the then Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, so I am very glad to see that it is coming back. If we read the news reported bravely by Dublin Inquirer regarding the former Chivers site in Coolock, we see exactly why this is needed. There, lobbying by Veni Vidi Vici Limited pushed for rezoning of a former industrial site with emails to councillors talking about how kids would no longer need to live in bed and breakfast accommodation if they rezoned the site. The site was rezoned, has increased in value by ten and is now back on the open market without a single house having been built. Without a single child having been removed from a bed and breakfast, it has been flipped and put back on the market. This is exactly the sort of thing that would have been prevented if the Green Party’s measure on windfall tax on rezoned land had never been removed.