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Alliance Housing Policy 2002

Alliance Housing Policy 2002

The Issues

- The reintroduction by the Labour-Alliance Government of income-related rents for State housing tenants, which ensures that rents are no more than one quarter of family income, is a significant achievement. However, serious housing problems still plague New Zealand, particularly among the urban poor and rural Maori. The state provides less than a quarter of New Zealand’s rental stock so many people are caught in a poverty trap as their private rentals soar, especially in Auckland and other cities.

- HNZC has a waiting list of around 11000 households. The introduction of income related rents, whilst excellent for tenants, resulted in a reduction of tenant turnover. Meanwhile, overcrowding causes unhealthy housing and preventable diseases, especially for our children.

- The Labour-Alliance Government has added more than 2000 units over the past 2.5 years but there is still acute pressure on the rental sector. At least 10000 new and appropriate housing units are needed to overcome the current state-housing shortfall. Also, the existing state housing stock needs updating.

The Goals

- The Alliance will increase the number of state houses by 2100 per year over the next 6 years. This will done by a combination of new builds and leases from private owners.

- At the same time, modernisation of the existing stock will be carried out. This will involve 60000 units over a 12-year period at the rate of 5000 per year.

- HNZC will establish a quota of housing stock modified or adapted for people with disabilities and older people. The Alliance will also work with Co-operative Housing Trusts to increase the number of dwelling units.

- Councils and other agencies aiming to provide pensioner flats will be assisted by loans at below market rates of interest, providing that rents are set that only cover the cost of providing the accommodation. Councils which have increased rents on existing pensioner flats, which were built with low interest loans provided by the Government in the past, will be expected to retain ownership of those units and to restore rents to levels that cover actual costs only.

- The Alliance recognises that it will be necessary to retain the accommodation supplement while the state rental stock is being re-built. The Alliance will review the abatement rates on the supplement during this transition period.

- The Alliance supports a low interest, low deposit housing scheme for first homebuyers. This will be promoted through an appropriate agency.

- The Alliance will work with iwi and other groups in developing “rent to buy’ and other schemes to improve the housing stock in rural areas.

- The HNZC research unit will be tasked to investigate the housing need so that the type of accommodation and the rate and place of supply are appropriate for the foreseeable future.

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