New Zealand’s sole peak body for the not-for-profit housing sector, Community Housing Aotearoa, has praised the newly released Productivity Commission report on Housing Affordability for its timely reminder that New Zealand is ill equipped to deliver the volume or quality of housing needed for future generations.
“From our perspective this is a very positive report. The Productivity Commission has acknowledged that this country is facing a challenging transition if it is going to deliver enough fit-for-purpose housing. They have agreed that developing our sector of not-for-profit, not-for-dividend community-based housing is an important task, and that our members have made an important contribution to affordable housing already,” says David McCartney, Executive Officer of Community Housing Aotearoa.
“As the report says the long term well-being of New Zealanders is in jeopardy because of a range of market issues including poor quality, insecure tenure and inadequate income in retirement.
“This report confirms that the rental market in New Zealand won’t realistically match changing demographics unless it provides secure long-term quality rental housing on a much larger scale than it has done previously.
“This report confirms that the missing rungs on the housing ladder are not going to magically re-appear. Because of compromises being made in housing provision it also confirms that issues such as overcrowding remain a serious social issue for low income households, particularly Pacific peoples who have the highest rates of overcrowding, followed by Māori.
“From a community housing sector point of view we especially urge the government to act on the Productivity Commission’s recommendation that the Social Housing Fund has to be increased significantly if it is going to meet projected social housing needs, in partnerships and collaboration with our members and with other third sector organisations and companies,” says David McCartney, Executive Officer Community Housing Aotearoa.
“Before Christmas the first funding round of $5 million is due to be allocated, but we couldn’t agree more with the Productivity Commission that such a moderate amount of funding cannot realistically increase the supply of housing or go very far to ensuring the success of the current reform programme.
“The other encouraging aspect of this report is the strong signal that the Productivity Commission has given that it wants further suggestions about how to increase the capacity of the community housing sector.
“We are equally encouraged by the Commission’s reference to a model of housing where institutional investment is used to deliver long-term leases, where the tenant has some ownership interest in their home and where the landlord is focused on a sustainable on-going yield. We now finish the year hopeful that an even clearer picture of the role we can play in future housing solutions will emerge from the next stage of submissions due by 10 February 2012”.