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Addressing housing pressures under strong growth

Hon Jim Anderton Industry and Regional Development Minister Hon Steve Maharey Housing Minister

23 March 2005

Addressing housing pressures under strong growth

Today the Minister for Industry and Regional Development, Jim Anderton, and Minister of Housing, Steve Maharey, announced that funding has been approved of up to $90,000 from the Ministry of Economic Development’s Regional Initiatives Fund, and $130,000 from the Centre for Housing Research Aotearoa New Zealand for research on housing pressures in the Nelson, Marlborough and Tasman regions.

The announcement was made in Jim Anderton's closing speech to the Regional Development Conference, being held in Napier this week.

"A strong regional economy, a growing population and rising property values – this sounds like a recipe for success, but in the Nelson, Marlborough and Tasman regions, that combination, along with low unemployment and sustained skills shortages, could turn out to be a constraint on future growth," Jim Anderton said.

"Establishing whether that is the case, and what can be done about it, will be the job of people working on a new regional research project to be funded by the Ministry of Economic Development and the Centre for Housing Research of Aotearoa New Zealand (CHRANZ), who will manage the project. CHRANZ contributed $90,000 and will provide an additional $40,000 for publications and project management costs," Jim Anderton said.

Minister of Housing, Steve Maharey said that "the ‘Housing pressures in the Nelson, Marlborough and Tasman regions: a solutions study’ is being carried out to help us understand the linkages between regional development, housing affordability, and economic and employment growth. The researchers will work with the local community and interested groups to find solutions to the problem of housing pressures.

“The Nelson, Marlborough and Tasman regions have been facing some unique pressures: very low unemployment, significant population growth, rapid increases in property prices, high and sustained levels of skills shortages, with a growth rate of 3.9 per cent for 2004. It is important that we find some solutions to these problems and ensure that any negative impact on future growth is limited," Steve Maharey said.

“This project is another good example of how local, regional and central government agencies can work together to get results. This project is being progressed by joint funding from the Regional Initiatives Fund and from CHRANZ,” Jim Anderton said.

Editor’s Note:

The Regional Initiatives Fund (RIF) is a discretionary fund administered by the Ministry of Economic Development. Each application is sent to the Minister for Industry and Regional Development for approval.

On average 20 projects through RIF are funded in each year. RIF grants range in value between $28,000 to $200,000 with most between $50,000 and $70,000. The majority of RIF grants are paid to territorial local authorities. In some cases, the council holds the money on behalf of groups that are not a legal entity.

Each application is based on partial funding on a case by case basis.

The purpose of the RIF is to provide support for regional projects that are consistent with economic, social and environmental objectives but cannot be funded through other Government assistance programmes. A region is defined as a geographical concentration of communities with similar economic, social and environmental characteristics and objectives.

The Regional Initiatives Fund was created to provide catalyst funding for regional projects that fall outside the criteria of existing Government assistance programmes, but have the potential to leverage economic growth as well as meet Government objectives for economic, social and environmental development.

Funding is only paid out on the completion of agreed milestones, and is monitored by the Ministry of Economic Development.

Info about the Centre for Housing Research Aotearoa New Zealand (CHRANZ):

CHRANZ was established in 2003 by Housing New Zealand to address research gaps in the wider housing market. Housing New Zealand provided funding to ‘kick-start’ the housing research sector, with the expectation that CHRANZ will become increasingly independent by attracting funding support from other stakeholders.

CHRANZ’s core business includes setting housing research priorities for the total housing market and investing in independent research. CHRANZ’s medium term goal is to deliver and promote policy relevant research on housing, and see it implemented at the policy and operational level.

CHRANZ's research programme focuses on:

- The New Zealand Housing System. This includes the future of home ownership, affordable housing, and housing stock suitability.

- Linking housing and social, economic and environmental outcomes. Investigating connections between housing and social, economic and environmental factors.


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