10 Nov 2020

'It was never meant to be cheap' - Councillor defends Wellington apartments

10:26 am on 10 November 2020

The Wellington City Council is being criticised for slapping a weekly rent of $580 on new apartments that are meant to be affordable for essential workers.

Housing in Wellington

Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

Unused office space in Wellington is being converted into two-bedroom apartments by the Wellington City Council and the property developer, The Wellington Company.

Renters United said the high rent reflects the ridiculous housing situation in Wellington.

Councillor Fleur Fitzsimons said the rent price hasn't yet been confirmed.

"The whole point of these apartments is to provide people who pay less than $85,000 or couples or families paid less than $135,000 who don't own their own home, some affordable and stable accommodation," she said.

"It was never meant to be cheap."

An assessment was done based on the Wellington Housing Affordability model, she said.

"We're confident looking at what people earn, their expenses and different household compositions that these will be affordable and in demand and that we'll have no problem attracting tenants."

The council is not looking to make a profit only to cover the cost of leasing the building from The Wellington Company, she said.

The apartments are in Willis Street, will include whiteware and WIFI.

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