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Major pensioner housing upgrade project underway

10 December 2004

Major pensioner housing upgrade project underway

Upgrades being made to pensioner housing units in Auckland were welcomed today by Housing Minister Steve Maharey.

Visiting two sites purchased by Housing New Zealand Corporation in 2003, Steve Maharey said that the upgrades would make a huge difference in the lives of state house tenants.

The sites are among the over 1500 pensioner units across 53 sites sold to HNZC by Auckland City Council in 2003. At the time of the purchase the government committed $75 million to improving most of the homes over five years.

Through build, buy and lease programmes, the government is increasing the number of state houses in Auckland by 2,406 over this and the next two years to meet demand.

“Work upgrading the Auckland pensioner units is well underway – and from what I’ve seen today the difference is remarkable," Steve Maharey said. "Many of the homes were in very poor condition and in desperate need of an upgrade when purchased by the government."

The upgrades range from refurbishing homes to make them better and safer to live in, to completely re-building units on some sites.

“To date 200 units have been refurbished across Auckland and about 750 more will be refurbished over the next three years. In addition, work has begun on building 61 new units, with plans well underway to build about 250 more on former Auckland city sites.” At the first site Steve Maharey visited in Symonds Street, Onehunga, HNZC is upgrading units by converting existing small bedsits into larger one bedroom units. His visit also coincided with celebrations for the completion of the 200th former Council unit to be upgraded across Auckland.

“The tenants I have met today are absolutely thrilled with the improvements to their homes. The contrast between the old bedsits, which were outdated and in very poor condition, and the new, larger one bedroom units is very impressive."

At the second site, in New Windsor Road, Blockhouse Bay, HNZC is building 61 one-bedroom units for elderly people, replacing the 50 bedsits which were previously on the site.

ENDS

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