Budget 2018: Fixing the housing crisis
The government is committing to a multi-billion dollar investment to build public housing and thousands of affordable homes, and to help house our most vulnerable people, says Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford.
“Too many New Zealanders are hurting because of the housing crisis. Many are locked out of the Kiwi dream of home ownership. Others are homeless or suffering the health effects of poor-quality housing,” he says.
“The single most important thing the government can do to solve the housing crisis is to build more affordable homes. The best way to tackle homelessness is to build more public housing.
“Our plan increases public housing by 6400 homes over the next four years – 1600 a year. This means that Budget 2018 exceeds our earlier commitment to build at least 1000 state houses each year.”
The new public housing will be built through a combination of:
• $234.4 million in operating funding from Budget 2018
• Housing New Zealand borrowing up to $2.9 billion from third parties and investing a further $900 million from its operations.
“This combination of borrowing and internal funding by Housing New Zealand began under the former government to fund the Auckland Housing Programme, and is now being expanded to allow Housing New Zealand to provide additional public housing places,” says Phil.
“These Budget 2018 announcements are on top of the $2.1 billion committed in the December 2017 mini-Budget as capital and operating funding for the KiwiBuild programme and to set up the Housing Commission.
“The government is also providing $300 million capital for the Tāmaki Regeneration Company to contribute to building 1400 more houses and 700 new public housing units in that development.”
Over the next four years the government will also:
• increase funding to allow Tenancy Services to continue delivering current services – $33.6 million operating funding
• implement and monitor the Healthy Homes Guarantee Act 2017 and collect data on housing quality – $14.6 million operating and $0.5 million capital funding
• increase transitional housing by more than 200 places to reach a target of 2155 places to serve up to 34,000 families over four years – $68.9 million in capital in 2018/19 and $101 million in operating funding over the four years
• fund frontline Ministry of Social Development housing services – $30 million operating funding
• market rent top-up funding for Community Group Housing – $13.7 million operating funding.
Earlier this month, the government announced further support for the Housing First programme.
“We are investing an additional $20.5 million operating funding over the next four years to provide services for the more than 900 households currently in Housing First. This serves the most disadvantaged homeless people in Auckland, Christchurch, Tauranga, Hamilton, Wellington and Lower Hutt,” says Associate Housing and Urban Development Minister Jenny Salesa.
“We’re also expanding the successful Housing First programme to a further 550 households in other regions of high need.”
The expansion of Housing First is from an additional $43.9 million in operating funding over four years.
“The coalition government is taking responsibility for fixing the housing crisis,” says Phil.
“The register of households waiting for public housing – now at 7890 plus 1805 waiting for transfers to a more suitable public house – shows how much work needs to be done and how far backwards we went over the last decade.
“While the government and community housing providers work to resolve the housing crisis over the coming years by building more houses, transitional housing and other measures will support those who urgently need housing in the meantime.”
Healthier homes for more Kiwi families
A new insulation programme will make Kiwi homes healthier and support families’ wellbeing, Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods and Climate Change Minister James Shaw announced today.
“Too many of our homes are cold and damp, leading to preventable diseases such as rheumatic fever and asthma. That’s a burden on Kiwi families, as well as on our health system and the economy. We can and must do better,” says Megan.
“Lower-income families, young children and the elderly are especially vulnerable when living in cold, damp housing. About 42,000 children go to hospital every year with infectious and respiratory diseases that are largely the result of cold, damp, mouldy homes – and 1600 mostly older New Zealanders die prematurely each winter.
“Our plan will help tens of thousands of Kiwi households live in homes that will keep them healthy and that are better placed to raise children. The four-year programme funded by Budget 2018 will help lower-income New Zealanders stay warm by providing grants for insulating their owner-occupied homes.”
The programme will be delivered by grants from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, says Megan, with $142.5 million in new operating funding over the next four years.
“This initiative delivers on the Confidence and Supply Agreement between Labour and the Green Party, which undertook to substantially increase the number of insulated homes in New Zealand,” says James.
“As part of the 100-Day Plan, the government passed the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill requiring landlords to properly insulate rental properties.
“Now, lower-income households living in their own homes will be eligible for grants covering two-thirds of the cost of installing ceiling and underfloor insulation. The grants will be topped up wherever possible by third-party funding to make the insulation as low-cost as possible. The first year of the programme will focus on insulation as the highest priority for creating warm, dry homes. The second phase will concentrate on heat sources.”