“Driving through some of the deprived areas of TÄmaki makes plain why the Government is determined to do a better job of social housing,” Mr English says.
“It also illustrates the development opportunities in some of the HNZC-dominated suburbs in Auckland. The Government owns 1 in 16 houses in Auckland and we need to do a better job with them for the sake of tenants and aspiring homeowners, as well as for the neighbourhoods they live in and the wider city.”
“Change has been slow to come to TÄmaki but we are determined for the next decade in TÄmaki to look very different to the decade past,” Dr Smith says.
“TRC – which is owned jointly by the Government and Auckland Council – has been engaging with the TÄmaki community over the past few years to better understand their housing, social and employment aspirations.
“This transfer of ownership of HNZC properties and the responsibility for tenancy management to TRC will enable faster construction of warm, dry and safe houses that better meet people’s needs,” Dr Smith says.
Today’s announcement means that by 31 March 2016, HNZC tenants who live within the TRC catchment areas of Glen Innes, Point England and Panmure will have a new landlord. There will be no immediate impact on the tenants, with existing tenancy agreements transferring to TRC with no change. The transfer is separate to the Government’s plans to sell 1000 to 2000 of its state housing stock.
Mr English says the TRC plans that in the next 10 to 15 years, there will be about 7500 new houses built in the place of 2500 existing ones.
“Over half of the new houses will be sold to help offset construction costs, and the remainder will be retained as social housing. Our bottom line is that there will be at least as many social houses in TÄmaki as the 2800 there now.”
In addition to the transfer of HNZC housing stock to TRC, Cabinet last week approved a $200 million loan facility for the company as another key lever in accelerating the regeneration work at TÄmaki. The loan facility is to be made available ahead of the transfer of the homes in order to allow TRC to progress its own development and planning.
“This is about giving TRC the tools it needs to develop the homes on-site to make a difference to people with high housing needs,” Dr Smith says.
“The loan facility will mean more houses being brought on-stream faster, giving more people the chance of home ownership sooner than they would have had otherwise. Making more houses available as efficiently as possible is also essential to ensuring there are enough houses available to re-home tenants in the area as redevelopment gets underway.
“The HNZC developments underway in Fenchurch will continue with no slowdown in activity before it is handed over to TRC as part of the transfer.
“A business case is being developed by the Government, Auckland Council and TRC in the next few months that will look at how future developments will be best undertaken. We are in the early stages but the purpose of our announcement today is to make abundantly clear that we are serious about seeing action in an area that desperately needs it,” Dr Smith says.
Mr English says that as the redevelopment occurs, the Government will investigate how to deliver support in Tamaki in the best way to make a genuine difference to the people who live there.
“The Government is committed to our social housing reform programme. It promises a more diverse supply of social and affordable housing from a wider range of providers, improved responsiveness to tenants’ needs, and greater recognition of people’s aspiration for housing independence.”