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Building the Future

Building the Future

Comments at the launch of the New Zealand Housing Strategy discussion document. Talbot Park Community Renewal project site, Glen Innes.

Introduction

We are here first today to mark the completion of the 36 units in these refurbished Star Flat blocks. A real milestone for Talbot Park Community Renewal and the tenants who live here.

These flats are a gateway for Glen Innes. The improvements and the community involvement underway is revitalising this housing precinct.

It's making Talbot Park a better place to live.

Second, to launch what is the most significant housing policy discussion document in decades in New Zealand -- Building the Future: Towards a New Zealand Housing Strategy.

For many here today, especially the tenants of these refurbished flats, and those from the surrounding neighbourhood, your focus is the signature Talbot Park Community Renewal project.

Over time it will lead to more modernised Star Flat Blocks like this, and subject to all the planning approvals, more new housing and safer parks.

I'm told you have a neighbourhood planning day taking place at Talbot Reserve this Saturday. I'd urge all those from the area to come along and take part.

Change is always difficult.

It takes time.

It takes commitment.

It must allow time to build trust between the community and the agencies and authorities involved.

But like a building, if the foundation is strong, the building will last.

That is what is so exciting about the six Community Renewal projects underway in New Zealand.

They involve improved or new homes and community participation and commitment.

They involve partnership between the community, local authorities, government agencies, employers, local businesses, social sector providers.

I'm pleased to hear that not only is the Talbot Park project improving the neighbourhood for those who live here, it has also helped provide some jobs for local people.

The Talbot Park team have been working with the Glen Innes Family Centre, Canam Construction Ltd and Academy New Zealand to identify training and employment opportunities.

New skills have been developed, now jobs gained. That's really good news.

These 36 improved flats at Talbot Park are the first completed stage of this Renewal Project. Work is already underway on the next blocks.

Overall there will be bigger changes in the years ahead with proposals here for new homes, new parks, new roading.

A safer area, one with better housing and stronger families and stronger community networks.

Talbot Park I'm pleased to hear is one of the key projects in the Auckland City Council Tamaki Edge project.

An expanded Tamaki Campus of the University of Auckland; an upgraded Glen Innes Town Centre and redeveloped rail station are underway or planned. There's a lot happening here.

A housing strategy for New Zealand

This Community Renewal project is also part of a wider debate across Auckland. One that goes to the heart of some of the issues we are keen to hear discussed as part of a Housing Strategy for New Zealand.

Auckland's population is increasing. Many more people are expected to want to come to live here in coming decades. There is only so much space available.

By 2050 the Auckland Regional Growth Forum sees that more than a quarter of Auckland's then 2 million people will live at increased densities.

Where will they all live? How crowded should they be? What sort of housing will they require? Who will own it? How should it be designed? What building standards should be in place?

Most people can generally look after their own housing requirements. But many can't.

Here in New Zealand we have a widespread belief that a decent house is something we are entitled to.

Not only because it may lead to better health and education, but because it defines the sort of society we want for ourselves and our children.

Today marks a significant step in terms of developing a plan of action to help meet New Zealand's changing housing needs over the next 10 years.

There are a number of pressure points within the housing sector.

Rising house prices and rents, especially in high pressure areas, have put many households under stress.

There are concerns about housing quality and affordability. Increasingly low income households are having difficulty meeting high housing costs.

As well, across New Zealand family structures are changing.

We have an ageing population and people from many different ethnic backgrounds. Different types of housing for many different needs are required.

In some areas housing stress is compounded by strong demand for temporary housing from seasonal workers and demand for affordable housing in tourism areas.

Employers and developers have a role to play in helping meet this housing need.

While social housing will grow to meet the needs of the most disadvantaged, this government sees the need for a wider housing strategy.

One that recognises the role that housing contributes to our individual and national economic wealth. A strategy that matches the aspirations and diversity of New Zealanders.

Now it is time to test the ideas and proposals that have come forward from many areas and people.

>From social and community groups; from local government and business sectors; from Maori and Pacific people; from government agencies.

This discussion document, Building the Future: Towards a New Zealand Housing Strategy seeks public views - your views -- to ensure we have the right balance of issues and ideas to move ahead.

Good housing is the foundation for better health, education, an improved economy and strong and vibrant communities. Lets work together to make a real difference.

I encourage you to make a submission - it's important that we hear views from everyone, regardless of their housing circumstances. Its time to have your say.

There is further information available here today about the discussion document and how you can make a submission.

Conclusion

All the feedback we get will contribute to the New Zealand Housing Strategy which we currently expect to be ready for release in the latter part of the year.

That's enough now from me.

To those of you from Talbot Park, I wish you well.

And I hope to be back here again as further stages are completed to monitor the progress and meet you again.

ENDS

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