From Today’s Cantonese Press

Yesterday Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung gave his annual policy address. Core to that were announcements on housing and air quality. Of course critics and supporters fill today’s newspapers.

Ten measures to increase land for housing by 300 hectares

During his first Policy Address yesterday, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying announced measures that would mitigate Hong Kong’s dwindling supply of land by opening up 300 additional hectares for residential development by 2020. Under Leung’s plan, 128,000 new housing units would enter the market. According to a government statement, some new units could be pushed out onto the market within the next five years, and the plot ratio of some sites that are already under planning could be raised. This would increase the annual supply of flats beyond the original planned amount of 40,000. Leung also said that housing prices would be adjusted downward during his term. Nevertheless, in response to Leung’s speech, the second-hand property market has rallied. The reason for this rally was the lack of additional cooling measures on home resales in the Policy Address.


Old diesel vehicles to be forced off the streets

Yesterday, in his Policy Address, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying called for old diesel vehicles to be forced off Hong Kong’s streets between 2016 and 2019, a measure that is designed to improve air quality. Specifically, Leung called for a legislative allocation of HK$10 billion to subsidize the purchase of newer vehicles by drivers of pre-Euro III-standard diesel vehicles. The subsidy would cover 10 to 30 percent of the necessary replacement cost. Leung also called for increasing the number of landfills in Hong Kong and for building incinerators to mitigate the city’s solid waste disposal problem. A spokesman for Friends of the Earth criticized Leung for violating a pledge he made during his election campaign to not build more incinerators and for developing a solid waste plan that was full of holes.


Social welfare groups are unhappy with Leung’s anti-poverty measures

In his policy address, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying admitted that poverty was a problem in Hong Kong. However, he did not propose any new measures to alleviate poverty, disappointing several committees on poverty and social welfare groups. These groupings criticized Leung for making no promises to reduce the number of poor people in the next five years. They are also disappointed that Leung did not mention the wealth gap or indicate that the government would address the problem. Finally, they claim that the Policy Address of former Chief Executive Donald Tsang was better.


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