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Council welcomes Budget housing allocation

NEWS RELEASE
19 May 2005

Council welcomes Budget housing allocation

Wellington City Council has welcomed today’s Budget provision of $440,000 to Housing New Zealand Corporation for joint work on the long-term sustainability of the Council’s 2300-unit housing stock.

Councillor Stephanie Cook, the Council’s Social Portfolio Spokesperson, says the rental housing plays a crucial role in the well-being of the Wellington community – particularly for new migrants, people on low incomes and others who would otherwise struggle to find a safe and secure roof over their heads elsewhere.

However she says the Council faces significant issues in terms of the suitability of the housing stock and the huge costs involved in maintaining and improving it. The current estimate is that this would cost about $90 million over 10 years – on top of the Council’s budgeted investment of $40 million.

“We have been working with HNZ and the Government on options towards funding and improving the stock. It is no secret that the Council has been seeking Government financial support to keep the housing stock sustainable and useful.”

She says a significant part of the Council’s stock is more than 40 years old and of limited use in terms of 21st-century social needs. “We’ve got a lot of bedsits and high-rise units that are fine for fit adults living on their own – but which are obviously no good for large families, elderly people or people with disabilities.

“The cost of upgrading and reconfiguring this housing will be enormous – and will likely not be a cost that the Council and Wellington ratepayers can carry on our own.”

Cr Cook says the Budget allocation will be used for joint work on options for the continued provision of social housing stock in Wellington City.

ENDS

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