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Cathy Casey: Facts On Affordable Housing

Cathy Casey: Facts On Affordable Housing

Cr Scott Milne issued a press statement today entitled "Council does U-turn on Pensioner Housing". This release contains a number of misleading statements. You published it on SCOOP. As Chair of the Community Development and Equity Committee I have taken the liberty of providing you with the facts on council's involvement in the provision of affordable housing as I understand them (see attached press statement).

Regards, Cr Cathy Casey

Facts On Affordable Housing

“There is a political faction on council which seems hell-bent on misinforming ratepayers about Council’s intentions with regard to the provision of affordable housing. Allow me to set the record straight …”

Should we get involved in the provision of affordable housing?

“Yes. There is a vast shortage of affordable housing in Auckland that is housing which costs less than 30% of a person’s gross income. Some 58 per cent of Housing New Zealand’s waiting list is in the Auckland region. It’s not getting any better. Auckland it is the fastest-growing city in Australasia and housing solutions need to be found now and into the future.

“Good quality affordable housing is an essential component of strong communities. People forced into poor quality or overcrowded housing have poorer physical and mental health. There is growing research evidence of a link between poor housing and a wide range of negative outcomes for families including: unemployment; educational achievement; crime and unemployment.”

Does the Auckland City intend to become a landlord once again?

“No. The Mayor, the Deputy Mayor and myself as Committee Chair have stated publicly that the Council has no intention of turning back the clock and returning to full ownership and management of housing in Auckland. What we do intend to do in the next few months is investigate over 40 different ways that we can increase the stock of affordable housing from zoning methods and compliance costs to partnership and advocacy.”

Will there be a cost to the ratepayer?

“Yes. We have budgeted 0.5% of rates or $1 million p.a. for affordable housing. We will be seeking positive partnerships with Housing New Zealand, business, third sector providers and philanthropic trusts to make our money go further.”

Is it a council responsibility to be involved in providing affordable housing?

“Yes. Auckland City Council has had a long and proud involvement in housing since the early 1900’s. It was only three years ago, that the John Bank’s-led Citizen & Ratepayer Now council ended this city’s involvement in housing by selling off the city’s pensioner and residential housing portfolio. In so doing, Auckland City became the only council in the wider Auckland region without a stock of housing and is currently one of only a handful of TLAs in the country to have opted out of this important civic responsibility.

Is there support for Council’s involvement in the provision of affordable housing?

“Yes. The Mayor, the Deputy Mayor and myself have had messages of positive support from many individuals and groups in the public and private sector from across Auckland city.”

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