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Minister visits Australia to shape housing policy

Minister visits Australia to shape housing policy

Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith leaves for Australia today with Housing New Zealand chief executive Glen Sowry to learn from their experience of growing the community social housing sector.

“Social housing in New Zealand, unlike most countries, is dominated by state provision. Research shows we can get better results from a more diverse social housing sector. The Government’s ambition is to dramatically grow the community social housing sector to provide 20 per cent of social housing. Australia has achieved this over the past two decades and I want to learn from their experience,” Dr Smith says.

Social housing in Australia is a state government responsibility and community social housing makes up about 20 per cent of their social housing stock. This compares with less than one per cent in New Zealand.

“Our Social Housing Reform Bill currently before Parliament is a game changer for community social housing. It will enable approved community housing providers to access the income related rent subsidy that is currently only available to Housing New Zealand. We are also growing the sector with grants from the Social Housing Fund,” he says.

“The success of these reforms is dependent on getting the detail right. I want to look in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane at their system for registering social housing providers, how they ensure quality housing, how their system is funded and the different approaches to expanding the sector.

“I also want to shift Housing New Zealand away from intensive state housing suburbs to mixed tenure developments. I will be visiting a number of redevelopments where there is a mix of state, affordable and community social housing.

“New Zealand and Australia share similar major challenges over housing affordability and supply. We need to be open to learning from their experiences as we reform our systems to get better outcomes for families.”


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