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New Housing Board Begins Work

26 July 2001 Media Statement

The board of New Zealand's new housing agency, Housing New Zealand Corporation, met for the first time yesterday.

Housing New Zealand Corporation was created earlier this month to provide housing assistance and to give advice to government on housing issues. It is a crown agency with approximately 60,000 rental houses with an approximate market value of about $6 billion.

It merges the old Housing New Zealand, Housing Corporation and Community Housing, as well as the former housing staff of the Ministry of Social Policy.

The new organsiation's board is headed by the former chair of Housing New Zealand, Roger Bonifant, who was also chair of Housing Corporation and Community Housing. Mr Bonifant is an Ashburton farmer, director of several public and private companies and a former managing director of BNZ Finance.

Patrick Sneddon, who was also on the previous boards of Housing New Zealand, Housing Corporation and Community Housing, is now deputy chair of the new organisation. Mr Sneddon is also on the board of Auckland District Health Board.

The new board includes Lope Sasao Heath, a South Auckland lawyer of Samoan and Palagi heritage. None of the previous housing agencies had ever had a Pacific woman on their boards, making Ms Heath's appointment a first.

Housing Minister Mark Gosche, who is also Pacific island Affairs Minister, said Housing New Zealand tenants were ethnically diverse and it was appropriate that the board make-up reflected that diversity.

"While about a third of tenants are Pakeha, 25 percent are Maori and 20 percent are Pacific people."

Former Prime Minister David Lange moves across from the board of Housing New Zealand to the new organisation's board, as does David Pritchard and Paul White. Mr Pritchard, from Otaki, is managing director of property company Pritchard Group.

Mr White, a qualified architect from Christchurch, was until recently chief executive of Ngai Tahu Development Corporation.
Maryan Street and John Hill, both previously board members of Housing Corporation and Community Housing, have also been appointed to the new organisation's board. Ms Street, a previous director of Auckland University's Centre for Labour Studies, is currently employee relations manager with Waitemata Health. John Hill is an Auckland architectural consultant.


Ends

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