Cross-party backing for community-led initiatives to solve New Zealand’s housing crisis has been welcomed by Community Housing Aotearoa (CHA) Chair Bernie Smith.
Mr Smith said he was pleasantly surprised by the broad support community housing providers received from politicians attending a CHA-sponsored webinar held last week. The webinar featured a policy discussion involving ACT’s Karen Chhour, Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson, Māori Party co-leader John Tamihere, National’s Simon O’Connor, and TOP leader Geoff Simmons.
The five put forward numerous policies that would enable community housing providers to provide more families in need with permanent housing solutions, including using Government-guaranteed bonds to attract low-cost development finance to the sector.
“While there were a number of different views on the causes of the current crisis, there was a general consensus that solutions needed to reflect individual communities’ needs, and that involving the community housing sector was one way to ensure that would happen,” said Mr Smith.
“Government needs to lead the way, but it cannot single-handedly provide all the answers,” said Mr Smith.
Mr Smith, who is CEO of Auckland’s Monte Cecilia Housing Trust, said it was unfortunate members of the current coalition government were not able to attend the event.
“The government has unquestionably made some positive steps towards recognising the scale of the country’s housing crisis and its potential to generate long-term social damage. However, it seems somewhat reluctant to make full use of the expertise Community Housing Providers could provide,” said Mr Smith.
“If the government wants shovel-ready infrastructure projects that will deliver long-term social and economic benefits, we’ve got them.”
The full webinar can be viewed here