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Record Emergency Housing Spend In Hutt

News that that over $3 million was spent a single quarter alone in Lower Hutt between June and September on emergency housing special needs grants is just further confirmation that the Hutt housing crisis is getting worse, says Chris Bishop, National List MP based in Hutt South

“This is a record new level of emergency housing spending in the Hutt. In March 2017 just under $200,000 was spent in a quarter on emergency housing special needs grants, which pay for people to stay in motels whilst waiting for social housing to become available. Since then the numbers have risen sharply. By December 2019 over a million dollars every quarter was being spent, and between June and September 2020, $3 million was spent on over 1000 grants just in Lower Hut alone.

“The fact that the government is spending 3 million dollars in one quarter alone in one city is a stunning indictment of a failed housing policy. The Hutt is experiencing the agony of steep house price increases, big rent increases, an ever increasing social housing waitlist, homelessness, and people forced to live in motels.

“Labour’s housing policies have failed the Hutt. Labour promised to build 400 Kiwibuild homes in Lower Hutt, but three years on, not a single Kiwibuild house has been built, with none planned. Just 44 Kāinga Ora homes have been built in the Hutt in the last three years, which is utterly unacceptable given the scale of the problem.

“The number one solution to the Hutt’s housing woes is supply, and facilitating the infrastructure to unlock more land and greater density. As a city we need to act with urgency. National has proposed new ideas to encourage a surge in house building, all of which would help the Hutt, such as:

1. Strengthening the National Policy Statement on Urban Development (the NPS): The NPS requires local authorities to rezone land to meet new minimum standards to enable intensification and growth. The Government should explore bringing this urgent rezoning forward, as well as increasing the competitiveness margin, to accelerate and support new housing growth in our major urban centres.

2. Making Kāinga Ora capital available to community housing providers with shovel-ready plans: Proven social housing providers have land and consents for new housing projects ready to go. The Government could make these projects happen immediately by releasing some of the $9.8 billion in taxpayer funding currently ring-fenced for future state housing.

3. Establishing a Housing Infrastructure Fund: This would help local government finance the pipes and roads required to accelerate rezoning of land for Greenfields developments.

4. Implementing new finance models: The Government should work with industry to develop finance models that leverage Accommodation Supplement and Income-Related Rent entitlements to drive new housing development.

“We need to be talking as a community about urgently opening up the north of Wainuiomata, and talking to government about a second access road into Wainuiomata from Naenae to unlock the land.

“As a List MP based in the Hutt, housing and transport will continue to be my top priorities. Labour’s policies have failed and it is time for new ideas and new solutions.”

Written question 16508 showing non-recoverable Emergency Housing SNGs figures from the Minister for Social Development and Employment attached.

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