1 Feb 2018

Wellington Universities look at housing more students

9:34 pm on 1 February 2018

Victoria University is planning to build accommodation for students past first year, to help ease the rental shortage and price gouging in Wellington.

Victoria University of Wellington's Katharine Jermyn Hall.

Victoria University already provides accommodation to first-year students, but is looking at expanding that to others. Photo: RNZ News

Wellington students are suffering as the availability of rentals in the city declines. Some are being asked by landlords how much more rent they're willing to pay to secure a flat.

Victoria University's vice chancellor Grant Guilford said the university was looking at building accomodation for students beyond the traditional halls for first years.

"We feel that this is ongoing evidence of landlords gouging our students in price, then we are willing to enter this market for post-first-year students and to do so with the intent of resetting the pricing at fairer levels.

"I would like to sound a warning, if I could, to the landlords that we are willing to intervene in this market if there is evidence of ongoing gouging."

Mr Guilford said the university was moving with caution as it must remain dedicated to its mission of providing teaching and research.

It would aim to break even or make money off any accommodation ventures.

Grant Guilford said they could take the form of varied contracts, including using university-owned land, joint ventures with local and central government, and combining with the private sector.

Plans were likely to advance this year, and did not include the Gordon Wilson Flats, which the university owns.

Massey University's vice chancellor Jan Thomas said Massey would also need to look at building more accommodation.

"We will certainly be considering additional accommodation over time, particularly with our aspiration to grow our Wellington campus. I think that will be certainly in our medium to longer term plan."

Jan Thomas said the issue of affordable housing was something all big cities had to grapple with.

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