12 May 2014

Quake city to change its social housing

8:40 pm on 12 May 2014

Christchurch City Council's extensive social housing model is not working for ratepayers, councillors say.

Potential changes to Christchurch City Council's extensive stock of houses and flats will be put out for public consultation.

At an extraordinary meeting on Monday, councillors discussed what options to pursue with a majority agreeing the current model is not working for ratepayers.

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Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

The council is the second largest landlord in the country but more than 600 of its units are not available due to earthquake damage.

Christchurch deputy mayor Vicki Buck said the council had to be socially responsible for housing vulnerable people, and discussions should not be about getting out of social housing.

"Just in the same way as when we were dealing with flooding, those people were vulnerable. These people are equally vulnerable, if not more so," Ms Buck said.

"So we have to be very clear about what we are going out to do."

But councillor Raf Manji questioned why the council owned any social housing at all.

"If I was doing this, the first question I would have asked is to Housing New Zealand 'can you take this off our hands', since they actually provide this on behalf of the taxpayer anyway," Mr Manji said.

He also questioned why the council was making it so hard to get rid of its social housing.

The debate follows the release of a KordaMentha report in early May which showed a $534 million hole in Christchurch City Council's finances and which said the city also needed to renegotiate now with the Government over how much it was paying for the wider rebuild.