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Solutions for housing proposed for New Zealand

Embargoed until 6am, 26 October, 2016

Solutions for housing proposed for New Zealand

Community housing groups, developers, economists and others are meeting today in Auckland to find ways forward in the housing crisis facing Auckland and other areas.

Scott Figenshow, CEO of Community Housing Aotearoa (CHA) says no one group can provide the answers.

“This is too big for one sector or government alone to fix. We all need to work together to meet housing need.

“We’re meeting to debate the actions and policies that would see us achieve the goal of homes for 50,000 more New Zealanders by 2020. We need to understand the range of policies needed and what it takes for the community housing sector to deliver at greater pace and scale.

“One of the answers we see is the Crown land programme happening faster, and occurring all over New Zealand. Incentives could be provided for private developers to follow the Government lead by delivering a mandatory percentage of affordable and social housing in all new developments,” he says.

“Ensuring the Crown Land programme assists community housing providers to increase their delivery is essential.”

Panel members at the event are independent economist Shamubeel Eaqub, Stephen Selwood from the NZ Council for Infrastructure Development and Auckland housing strategist Leonie Freeman, who will offer their insights and suggestions for action.

“More affordable homes need to be provided and the easiest way to do that quickly is to expand on what is already working, as well as adding further strings to the bow,” says Scott Figenshow.

Other solutions are to explore how a balanced mix of Income Related Rent Subsidy, capital and an improved Accommodation Supplement would work in Auckland and the regions.

“The Government has made some real progress in recent months to address housing need, through piloting Housing First and making supportive services funding available. To address all needs across the housing affordability continuum New Zealanders are calling for a co-ordinated approach from political parties, local government, developers, community housing providers and all stake-holders.”

Scott Figenshow expects some other actions to be raised that would make a difference for New Zealand’s housing. These are a review and update the Social Allocation System, introduction of Universal Design requirements into the Building Act, strengthening tenant protection in the Residential Tenancies Act and increasing home ownership incentives and programmes.

“If we don’t commit now to the long-term fix of additional affordable housing supply, we won’t be able to deliver adequate social housing. We can do better,” he says.

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