12 Jul 2016

South Auckland to get modular social housing

6:10 pm on 12 July 2016

The government has released more details of its plan to build modular social housing in Auckland.

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The government wants to test the speed of construction and efficiency of modular housing. Photo: Wikicommons

Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett said officials were negotiating lease arrangements for three sites in South Auckland that could eventually take between 100 and 140 modular social houses, if density rules permitted.

The three sites would allow the government to test the cost, speed of construction and efficiency of modular house building methods.

She would not say which areas the houses would be built in - only that they were in central South Auckland.

The government was waiting for Auckland Council to finalise its Unitary Plan so it would know at what density the homes could be built, Mrs Bennett said.

"We will then move quickly to lodge resource consents, with earthworks to begin by December and the first tenants moving in by autumn 2017."

Most of the homes will be one or two bedrooms and a supplier has not yet been chosen.

The modular homes will be built on sites that are earmarked for future development in the next 10 to 25 years.

The government was also looking at other options to provide more temporary accommodation.

"The quality is outstanding, some of [the modular homes] could be around in 25 years. I am looking at some that may be a bit shorter term so that might be where we only use the land for three to five years and that might suit some of those cheaper options."

Paula Bennett

Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett. Photo: RNZ /Cole Eastham-Farrelly

The full cost of the venture wouldn't be determined until negotiations were over, she said.

Housing New Zealand would manage the contracts with help from Ministry of Social Development and Treasury.

"I would look to bring in a community provider who will actually be there on site and working with these people and contract with them. So I've put some money aside for a sort of a special contract that would see them actually on site and making sure that we're looking after people."

The initiative was an "absolute sign" there was more demand than supply and the government was looking at every solution, Mrs Bennett said.

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