Community Housing Aotearoa
Media Release, 10 September 2008
National Housing Policy thin on details
The Housing Policy released quietly yesterday by the National Party failed to deliver as much detail as expected by Community Housing Aotearoa.
“The direction signaled in this policy isn’t much different from the status quo, although it is pleasing to see that community housing providers and papakāinga housing have received prominent mentions in the policy,” says Thérèse Quinlivan, Director of Community Housing Aotearoa, an umbrella organisation for the community housing sector.
“Spreading the policy across three simple, somewhat repetitive documents doesn’t really do justice to the complexity of the issues being faced in the housing sector as a whole”.
“Having an Accommodation Supplement that keeps pace with rising rents and regional variations and retaining a policy of income-related rents are both laudable policy commitments. But we still await more policy detail on what National would do over and above the Enabling Territorial Authorities legislation that was received its final reading in Parliament last week, and we still await more detail on what some aspects of this Housing policy might mean in practice,” says Thérèse Quinlivan.
“How exactly, for instance, does National propose to give banks more confidence to back the projects of community housing providers as stated in this policy? And what does this policy mean when it states that both prospective and existing state house tenants will be provided with a ‘more varied menu’?”
“We welcome the promise of a boost to the Housing Innovation Fund but even at $20 million a year this does not represent a large enough commitment to longer-term investment,” says Thérèse Quinlivan. “There is also much common sense in this policy, such as redeveloping under-utilised sections, but it doesn’t deliver a strong vision for the future of housing our communities beyond the limited idea of affordability”.
“We believe we need to move beyond the rhetoric associated with the persistent yet often impractical dream of home ownership for all, or the obsession with housing solely in terms of wealth creation. What we really need is a more genuine emphasis on how to integrate community and social housing stock into a stronger vision for longer-term investment to meet the growth of demand and need for healthy, good quality housing.”
“When the Election campaign proper commences we hope that Housing policy will receive far more attention and critical debate, and that far more light will be shed on the details of each party’s vision for the future of sustainably housing our diverse communities”.