Government announces new public housing plan

by Roxanne Libatique22 Jan 2021

The government has announced its Public Housing Plan 2021-2024, detailing 8,000 additional public and transitional housing places, as announced in Budget 2020.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the additional 6,000 public housing and 2,000 transitional housing places reinforce the government’s investment.

“The plan confirms we are on track to deliver over 18,000 extra places by 2024. This is not only delivering more warm, dry public housing for those most vulnerable to housing shortages, but also boosts economic activity, jobs in the building sector, employment, and apprenticeship opportunities for young people,” Prime Minister Ardern said.

“Fixing the housing crisis is a key focus of this government, and our public housing programme plays a key part in enabling more housing to be built through infrastructure investment and support for the construction sector.”

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The industry has welcomed the new housing plan, with the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) emphasising the significant housing shortage in New Zealand.

“We welcome today’s announcement as it shows some progress from the Budget announcement in May last year. With reports showing that the public housing waitlist is continuing to grow to record levels, we recognise how important it is to focus on this area with urgency,” said REINZ chief executive Bindi Norwell.

“However, we look forward to hearing more about the government’s plan to fix the housing crisis with an additional focus on affordability as current levels of inventory and median prices are out of reach for many New Zealanders.”

The Community Housing Aotearoa (CHA) has also welcomed the announcement. However, it urges the government to also focus on 21,415 whānau on the housing waiting list, with “thousands living in temporary housing and nowhere to move to” demanding “that we redouble our response and ensure that all New Zealanders are afforded their basic human right to adequate housing.”

“Community housing providers all want to play a part in addressing our housing crisis, and we want to be clear that we are also ready to deliver at pace and scale throughout New Zealand,” said Scott Figenshow, the chief executive of CHA.

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