by Holly Walker
The Government is missing half the equation with its new model for the development of Housing New Zealand properites unveiled in Christchurch today.
Only around a third of the new dwellings built at 399 Manchester St will be owned or leased by Housing New Zealand and provided as affordable social housing.
The rest will be put up for private sale, and without measures to help low and middle-income families into home ownership, there is no guarantee they will actually help struggling Cantabrians.
The tender document for Christchurch is being held up as a model for developments on Housing New Zealand land around the country.
We have already seen in Pomare in Lower Hutt that only 20 percent of the houses built to replace demolished state houses will be provided as affordable social housing. The rest are expected to be sold for around $350,000, which is simply not affordable to those at the lower end of the market. The same goes for the redevelopment in Glen Innes in Auckland.
If this model is replicated around the country, we will see a shrinking of the overall social housing stock, already one of the lowest percentages in the OECD, making it harder and harder for those on the lowest incomes to secure safe, affordable housing.
At the very least, if the Government plans to develop and sell Housing New Zealand properties into private ownership, it needs to balance the equation building new affordable, efficient state houses to replace those it sells.
The Government cannot hope to address the housing affordability crisis by simply redeveloping Housing New Zealand properties and shrinking the proportion of affordable social housing.
As well as leading the way with the building of new affordable state housing, it should be considering how to help low-income families into affordable homes. Options to consider include rent-to-buy schemes, affordable home loans, and improving conditions for renters with more secure tenure and minimum standards.