Council does U-turn on Pensioner Housing
Press Release Council does U-turn on Pensioner Housing
Auckland City Council learned late last week that investment and ownership of “affordable” and pensioner housing was again highly probable for Auckland City.
This is contrary to a press release from the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Chairman of the Finance Committee on February 10th. That statement said “Auckland City is not intending to get back into owning and administering pensioner or any other sort of rental housing.”
At the Council meeting on Thursday night, Deputy Mayor Bruce Hucker indicated he meant to say “full ownership” and then went on to explain how it was highly likely that Auckland City would invest capital in increasing the stock of pensioner houses in the city.
Council has set aside $1.4 million in the draft annual plan to be spent on affordable housing. It is likely that the Hubbard/Hucker majority lead council will capitalise this amount and use it to borrow approximately $9 million, which could then be put into a joint venture with other providers.
Cr Scott Milne, Leader of Citizens and Ratepayers said “The Deputy Mayor and Mayor are rapidly becoming a u-turn tag team. We have seen the broken promise of rate increases going from, as stated before the election, inflation plus 2% to inflation plus 8%. Now we are seeing a commitment not to be an owner or landlord for affordable housing go to a very definite possibility of investing serious capital.
Everybody understands that when we read “Affordable Housing” it means “Subsidized” housing and that subsidy will be paid for by Auckland ratepayers. It is not the City Council’s job to provide health care services, educational services or housing services to its rate payers. These are Central Government’s responsibility and any move back to owning and operating affordable housing is another slap in the wallet for our already over burdened ratepayers.”
“The previous Council went to great lengths to get the City debt free. Now in less than 6 months the Mayor and his fellow travellers seem committed to again putting us back into debt”, added Mr Milne
The previous Council sold all of its social housing to the Government for $83 million and extracted a guarantee that they would spend $53 million on refurbishing and upgrading that housing stock. This process is already underway. A move back into social housing as signalled in the draft annual plan will trigger certain consultation requirements. Rate payers are encouraged to participate in the annual plan process by making submissions to Council. The majority of these are now received on-line.