24 Aug 2018

Govt plans to build 6400 new state homes within four years

1:11 pm on 24 August 2018

The Housing Minister is confident 6400 new state homes can be built within four years, despite the constraints in the construction sector.

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Phil Twyford said it was going to take some years to fix the problem of the state housing waiting list. Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller.

Phil Twyford said the plan released today outlines the biggest public housing programme in more than a decade, but he admitted it was still not enough to ensure everyone who needed a house got one.

There are currently 8704 families waiting for a state home, and another 1885 families already in a state house but waiting for a transfer.

"It's never enough ... and it's going to take some years to fix this problem," Mr Twyford said.

Community Housing Aotearoa welcomed the plan but said it was far too few given than there were more than 10,500 families on the social housing register.

Chief executive Scott Figenshow said the Public Housing Plan that was released today, disappoints in the small number of funded housing units.

"We are underwhelmed by the quantity desired by the government as it will not put a dent in the genuine social housing demand, and it does not activate the capability of the community housing sector.

"Having said that, our expectations for this plan were low, because of the lack of investment allocated in the May budget. We want to see the government significantly investing in this plan in Budget 2019," Mr Figenshow said.

More than half of the new homes funded in this year's Budget would be built in Auckland, with Wellington gaining more than 700 by 2022.

The East Coast would get 330 new homes and Canterbury 480.

Northland's Tai Tokerau Emergency Housing Trust has welcomed the announcement that its region would get 180 new state houses by 2022.

Chair Adrian Whale said the region had been waiting a long time for the housing help it needs and the plan for 180 new homes was fabulous news.

Housing New Zealand has changed the way it contracts and procures new homes which would ensure the targets could be met, Mr Twyford said.

"Housing New Zealand is working with a number of preferred suppliers, it's made big efficiency gains in the way it builds houses, driving down costs. It's more and more using offsite prefabrication.

"I'm very confident we are going to meet these targets."

Many of the new homes would be infill housing, built on existing land owned by HNZ, with most of them being one to two bedrooms, with some four bedroom properties to cater for larger families.

"One of the ways we are going to build our way out of this housing crisis is using land more efficiently. Density is the future," he said.

As well as the Budget funding, Housing New Zealand will borrow another $2.9 billion from third parties, and take another $900 million from its operational funding to pay for the new homes.

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