Tuesday 4 June, 2019
New Zealand is a first world country where every person should have access to a warm, dry, safe place to call home. Sadly, however, statistics show this is not the case.
It’s why Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities (BBHTC) National Science Challenge researchers have spent the past four years identifying the facts and evidence that inform policy to ensure all New Zealanders are well-housed now and for future generations. Held in partnership with Community Housing Aotearoa, it bring together all the people in the room to ensure this evidence flows into practices that will end our housing crisis.
The Shift Aotearoa will be the the first time Building Better researchers will present these findings. The three-day conference will take place from 5-7 June 2019 at Te Papa in Wellington.
“By 2030, more New Zealanders than ever before will be lifelong renters,” explains Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities Director, Ruth Berry. “This changing landscape means it’s vital that the market is positioned to deliver warm, safe, healthy housing, especially for those who struggle most in the current housing market, including for low to middle income earners, Māori, Pacific, and the elderly.”
The conference will kick off at 9am on Wednesday 5 June with the Māori Housing Think Tank.
Dr Moana Jackson will set the kaupapa with a keynote address on treaty rights, human rights and why a Te Tiriti o Waitangi-based housing strategy is the only way New Zealand will address landlessness and homelessness for whānau Māori.
“Kāinga Tahi, Kāinga Rua’s researchers have discovered that if home ownership continues to decline at the rate it has been falling since 1991, Māori will almost be entirely renters by 2061,” says Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities Tumu Whakarae, Dr Jessica Hutchings.
Meanwhile, Auckland’s recent census of people living without shelter shows nearly 43 percent were Māori.
“The situation for whānau Māori is totally unacceptable,” says Dr Hutchings. “Our research reveals the solutions to this problem. Kāinga is where it all starts. We need safe places for whānau Māori to live in order to experience true mana motuhake.”
Later in the day, Building Better researcher Rangimahora Reddy and her team from Kirikiriroa will deliver the Kaumātua Housing Tool Kit - designed to ensure policy makers and Māori service providers have a blueprint for developing culturally responsive and secure housing for kaumātua.
On Thursday, the focus of the conference shifts to how to create a functioning housing system in New Zealand that isn’t based solely on housing as a commodity. Instead, it looks at why housing is a human right - one everyone deserves.
International keynote speakers include Professor Christine Whitehead, London School of Economics, Professor Emeritus in Housing Economics and Jago Dobson from RMIT in Australia. Dr Whitehead is a global expert on value uplift and how it helps in delivering affordable housing; Dr Dobson will look at the financialisation of housing, its consequences, and its impact on access to adequate housing.
“Building Better evidence clearly shows that the current housing “crisis” is of our own making and to fix it is not a one-size-fits-all solution,” tells Ms Berry. “This is why a focus on affordable housing is so crucial. What we must do is deliver houses that meet the needs of diverse households with low to moderate incomes at a price that enables people on low and moderate incomes to meet other essential living costs and have an acceptable standard of living. This is what will build thriving communities all over New Zealand.”
Throughout the three-day event, community housing providers will put their spotlight on how housing can and should be the most important vehicle for wellbeing, equality and dignity.
“Community housing providers are at the coalface and understand the issue of how we deliver mixed tenure, mixed income communities better than anyone else,” says CHA executive director Scott Figenshow. “Given the opportunity to scale, they are positioned to deliver the substantial increase in affordable housing that New Zealand needs so every Kiwi has a warm, dry, safe place to call home.”