The DAB on Wednesday criticised the government for its “turtle-like speed” in finding new plots of land for public housing.

It pointed to a widened shortfall of 67,000 public flats in the government’s long-term housing strategy target. The ten-year goal is to build 315,000 public units.

The pro-Beijing party echoed a call by its pro-democracy rivals for the Land Resumption Ordinance to be used to take back private sites for public housing development.

When the democrats put the suggestion to Chief Executive Carrie Lam last year, she said the ordinance cannot be used casually because it may lead to judicial review cases. DAB vice-chairman Gary Chan wrote in a newspaper article that he agreed with Lam.

But DAB chairwoman Starry Lee said her party has always supported using this law for housing development.

“I don’t agree with the notion that we changed our stance on this matter. We had supported using this ordinance to resume land for the developments in the northeast New Territories and Wang Chau”, she said.

“We would like to send a strong message to the government that there is a need to quicken the process and the use, or the more active use, of this ordinance is one possible solution. Otherwise, we can’t see how the government can fill the gap.”

But pro-democracy lawmakers Ray Chan and Andrew Wan both noted that in the past year, the DAB has opposed using the ordinance to find more land for housing.

Wan said the party’s U-turn is clearly an attempt to win votes in November’s district council polls because of the pressure it is facing due to the public’s backlash over the extradition law bill.