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Greens to unveil new housing plan

The Green Party will use its visit to Ratana Church celebrations on Thursday to unveil a set of bold new housing initiatives it hopes will appeal to the church's voter base and the wider public.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei is attending the annual celebrations of the birth of church founder Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana at Ratana Pa, near Whanganui, alongside Prime Minister John Key, Labour leader David Shearer and other MPs.

The new housing package, which Mrs Turei will formally announce at the marae, includes a progressive home ownership scheme, where the Crown would use its low cost of capital to buy homes, which a family would gradually pay off, before purchasing equity in the home until they own it outright.

The Greens have provided figures showing weekly costs for a progressive ownership home, built at a cost of $300,000, could be more than $100 a month cheaper than a mortgage, and could be paid off within about 25 years.

The scheme would be open to first-home buyers with children, who meet certain income and assets criteria.

The Greens are proposing to team up with Labour on its 10-year programme to build 100,000 compact, entry-level homes, which would cost a total of $3 billion.

However, the Greens say the $700-$900 million of unallocated money in future budgets could be used for building the homes, and there would be no impact on the government's net debt because the ownership agreements will be a financial asset.

The party estimates an additional administration cost of about $1000 per home annually.

The two other measures of the housing announcement:

* a new law for a warrant of fitness for rental properties, covering insulation, weather tightness and basic amenities.

* a law change to limit rent increases to once a year, and ensure they are in accordance with a formula specified in the tenancy agreement, along with a right of renewal for fixed-term leases.