“The Government takes seriously its responsibility to provide suitable social housing for our most vulnerable. We have made it a priority to deliver more social houses by speeding up Housing New Zealand’s development programme, and sourcing more homes from Community Housing Providers,” Housing New Zealand Minister Bill English says.
Nationwide, Housing New Zealand has 924 houses contracted or under construction. In Auckland, 589 properties are currently under construction or contracted for delivery this year and Housing New Zealand is negotiating for the delivery of a further 55. HNZ has identified opportunities for a further 1319 and is progressing work to get those underway.
Additionally, it is nearing completion of a programme to rebuild 700 quake-damaged properties in Canterbury.
“Social housing spaces are not limited to those provided by Housing New Zealand. Community Housing Providers are on track to deliver a further 508 places in Auckland, backed with long-term rental agreements from the Government,” he says.
“Housing New Zealand faces the same planning constraints as any other developer and can only go as fast as the current local planning rules allow.”
“The Green’s policy is a slogan, not a plan. We’re already building more than they propose, and they haven’t put aside funding to actually put people in those houses,” Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett says.
“Social housing is incredibly expensive, especially in Auckland, and the Greens’ policy doesn’t add up.
“The Greens oppose Housing New Zealand moving tenants out of old homes to put more properties on large, underused sections. Without using existing land, it’s not clear how they would build properties in Auckland within their budgeted figure, when it costs Housing New Zealand significantly more.”
Mr English says the Greens’ policy also hasn’t accounted for the ongoing cost of subsidising the rent, which for 450 properties mostly in Auckland would be around $28 million over four years.
“The dividend is not the issue, and is the normal way successive governments have used to place a discipline on Housing New Zealand to use its $19 billion of assets well in delivering suitable housing where it is most needed.”
“Taxpayers spend over $2 billion every year supporting those New Zealanders most in need with their accommodation, including almost $800 million subsidising social housing tenants’ rent – most of which goes to Housing New Zealand,” he says.