A further 65 new affordable rental homes are to be built in Hawke’s Bay in a Government partnership with Hastings iwi authority Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga and the city’s district council.
The projects, with the help of Government’s Affordable Housing Fund (AHF) allocations, were announced by Housing Minister Megan Woods on Friday.
Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga is being funded $14,816,128 to develop 26 affordable and generally large rental homes to suit the needs of those waiting on the Housing Register, and Hastings District Council has been granted $7,187,887 to develop 39 affordable, 39 single-bedroom units across two sites in central Flaxmere, focusing on the needs of elderly people living alone.
The Affordable Housing Fund was set up to increase the supply of affordable housing, with a priority on rentals, in areas with the greatest housing need.
Woods said: “The Affordable Housing Fund is making a real difference in bringing on more affordable homes for New Zealanders, which the National Party says it will cut if it gets into government.”
“This Government has pulled multiple levers to turn around the housing crisis we inherited, and we are starting to see the green shoots of change, with record building consents and more affordable housing being built as a result.”
The AHF focuses on increasing affordable housing provision (rental and home ownership) on land owned by iwi and Māori groups, councils and community groups.
Tukituki MP Anna Lorck, standing again as the Labour Party candidate in the electorate in which Hastings falls, says 190 public housing homes were removed under the 2008-2017 National Party government and just six were built, exacerbating homelessness, poverty and health issues.
“It hit Hastings hard,” she said. “It was a very strong platform I stood for the last election - a priority of affordable social housing.”
She said 300 had since been built, with another 200 in the pipeline, and there had been flow-on impacts, including employment opportunities, which had been assisted by Hastings District Council’s place-based strategy. It was one of the first in New Zealand and was put in place in late 2019 to address what it regarded as complex and inter-related housing issues putting pressure on whānau and communities in the district.
National Party candidate for Tukituki, Catherine Wedd, said National has released extensive policy to deliver better social housing and would better support community housing providers to deliver social housing to those who need it.
“In the building construction sector, we have released extensive plans to reduce the red tape and cost to build houses, which will get the wheels moving on new builds in Tukituki,” she said.
Claiming Labour had “utterly failed” on “every housing measure”, she said: “We’ll rebuild our economy and unlock housing supply, and deliver where Labour has failed.”
Wedd said Labour had reformed the Resource Management Act, and “only made things worse with more delays and cost”.
National would repeal and replace the RMA to ensure better RMA reform.
Meanwhile, first-time Napier Labour Party candidate Mark Hutchinson says a National Party-led government will axe the Affordable Housing Fund and wind “Napier’s housing progress” backwards.
“So far, the Labour Government has delivered over 150 new homes in Napier, including 25 transitional homes across three locations, with almost 400 in the pipeline,” he said. “We’ve made significant gains here in the last six years, and all that progress will be wound backwards with National’s tried and failed housing settings which only made the housing crisis worse,” he said.
He cites National candidate Katie Nimon, saying she said to him during a debate last week: “We don’t need public housing to the scale that you are saying.”
Nimon responded by telling Hawke’s Bay Today: “We don’t need the scale of public housing that Labour has failed to achieve with KiwiBuild. We just need more housing. It doesn’t matter who builds it, as long as it’s affordable.”
She said National will “power up community housing providers who are currently being priced out of the market, yet are far better placed to provide the support needed by so many in emergency housing and on the housing waiting list”.
Hutchinson said Nimon is “completely out of touch,” and added: “The last National government left Napier with 33 fewer public homes than it started with, and it beggars belief that Katie Nimon is advocating for a return to those days.”