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Christchurch housing rebuild momentum grows

Hon Dr Nick Smith

Minister of Housing

3 June 2014 Media Statement

Christchurch housing rebuild momentum grows

Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith today visited the site of a new Housing New Zealand development in central Christchurch, saying the progress on the 12 new two-bedroom apartments illustrate the momentum underway to fix and replace the city’s damaged housing stock.

“These new homes illustrate the phenomenal rate that houses are now being built at in Christchurch. An all-time monthly record of 356 new houses were consented in April 2014. This is more than double the 146 consented in April 2013, treble the monthly average rate pre-earthquake of 110 per month and eight times the post-earthquake monthly low of 43 in March 2011,” Dr Smith says.

“The scale of the residential rebuild in Christchurch is unprecedented in New Zealand’s history with the loss of 11,000 homes. The last year has seen the annual house build rate grow from 1601 in the year to April 2013, to 3247 in the year to April 2014.

“There has been further confirmation of the lift in building activity in the Canterbury region with today’s release of figures from Statistics New Zealand. These figures show that residential building activity was up 19 per cent in the March 2014 quarter compared with the previous quarter, which is more than double the increase recorded nationally. The value of residential building work for this quarter was $578 million – a jump of 66 per cent on the same period a year ago.

“This is why I am confident that by 2016 we will have built sufficient new homes to restore Christchurch’s housing stock to pre-earthquake levels.”

The 12 two-bedroom Housing New Zealand apartments in Worcester Street will all be tenanted by mid-July, four months ahead of the original completion date in November. They are part of Housing New Zealand’s 700 New Build programme which will help restore its stock to pre-earthquake levels.

“Housing New Zealand is ahead of the local council and the private sector in repairing and replacing its earthquake-damaged homes despite facing the same insurance, foundation, consenting and builder supply problems. It has completed 27,000 urgent repairs, completed 1188 major repairs as part of its Repair 5000 programme, completed 27 new builds with another 438 currently under construction or contract. I remain confident that the Repair 5000 and 700 New Build projects will be completed as scheduled by the end of 2015.”

The Minister today met with the new building consenting team at the Christchurch City Council, with Mayor Lianne Dalziel, with the Tenants Protection Association, with local Housing New Zealand staff, the Community Housing Trust and building companies.

“I am particularly encouraged by the turnaround in performance of building consent processing that a year ago was putting Christchurch’s recovery at risk. We have a strong international team, comprised mainly of Canadians, that is achieving the dual goal of faster consenting with strong quality control. My ambition is to have this service reaccredited with IANZ this year and returned to Council control in 2015.

“There are no magic answers to Christchurch’s post-earthquake challenges. The Government has a massive programme of work underway with the Canterbury Earthquake Temporary Accommodation Service, the four temporary villages, the private sector partnerships for worker accommodation, the Land Use Recovery Plan and Central City Development Plan, the intervention in Christchurch’s building consent service and the proposed Housing Accord with the Christchurch City Council. I am constantly reviewing progress and looking at further steps that the Government could take to help Christchurch’s housing recovery.”

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