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Call For Venture Capital Fund To Break Deadlock

Media Release, Monday 10 November 2008

Community Housing Aotearoa

Community Housing Sector Call For Venture Capital Fund To Break Out Of "Deadlock"

A call for a venture capital fund of $2 million to "kick start" the Community Housing sector has been made at a national conference being held in Wellington this week.

The call is contained in a national Strategy launched for consultation by sector umbrella organisation Community Housing Aotearoa. The Strategy, titled "Housing Our Communities", was prepared for and by the emerging community housing sector and will be open for consultation until the end of January 2009.

The Strategy was launched at Community Housing Aotearoa's national conference in a presentation given by Alan Johnson, a member of the Community Housing Aotearoa (CHA) Council.

Alan Johnson described the community housing sector, which meets community housing needs not provided by the state sector and includes a variety of community and iwi-based organisations, as being in a "state of deadlock" because it has existed in a "vicious circle of limited reputation, limited influence, limited resources and limited capacity".

In his Strategy presentation, Alan Johnson suggested that the community housing sector in New Zealand was grossly underdeveloped when considered against other comparable economies and societies.

In light of an economic downturn that is likely to see many in the construction industry without jobs, he suggested that the time is ripe for the establishment of a modest venture capital fund, separate to the Housing Innovation Fund, as an urgent priority for the new Government's first 100 days.

The CHA Conference – Building the Future – began today (Monday 10 November) and is being attended by more than 100 delegates. Keynote speakers on the first day have included three experts on developments in Community Housing from Australia, and Eljon Fitzgerald, Research Manager of Te Hoe Nuku Roa Longitudinal Study of Maori Households, Massey University.

Thérèse Quinlivan, CHA Executive Director, said the Australian state of Victoria is at least a decade ahead of New Zealand in its approach to developing and regulating the community housing sector as a credible partner with government and the private sector "We have a lot of ground to catch up, but working with government and the private sector the Australian experience is an inspiration that we can do it!"

Note: The Australian speakers are available for media calls tomorrow, Tuesday 11 November. They are: Robert Macbeth, Manager of Social Housing of Victoria's Office of Housing (an expat New Zealander); Anthony Hardy, Housing Registrar, Victoria State Government; and Rob Leslie, Chief Executive, Yarra Community Housing Trust.


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