New state homes to help with '40,000' homeless

Housing Minister Phil Twyford discussing plans for more than 80 new state homes in West Auckland with Housing New Zealand’s Cara Doonan. Photo credit: Teuila Fuatai

In an effort to chip away at New Zealand’s “40,000” homeless, the Labour-led Government has announced a raft of new state house building projects - with about 240 new homes due to be completed over the next two years.

Starting out in the country’s housing crisis mecca, Housing Minister Phil Twyford showed off a West Auckland site, which had been cleared of 16 1940s-style state houses, that, all going to plan, would have 82 new state homes within two years. The first homes in the New Lynn development are due to be ready for tenants by May 19.

Echoing the ambitions set in the supercity’s Unitary Plan, Twyford used the site to show what his Government would be driving in the next three years.

“This is all about doing density well, which is a real challenge for Auckland,” Twyford said.

“We have massive market failure in the housing market in New Zealand - that’s why we have more than 40,000 people homeless.

“We’re going to set out to build thousands of extra, high-quality state houses.”

Elsewhere in the country, 155 new state houses are due to go up in 15 regional centres over the next two years. About a third of those have been planned for Napier and Hastings, while Nelson and Marlborough, South Canterbury and Dunedin will have between 15 and 20 new homes, respectively.

Plans to build only eight and 10 new state houses for Rotorua, and the Far North - regions which have both hit headlines for high unemployment and homelessness - were part of today’s announcement.

Speaking at the New Lynn site, Housing New Zealand senior development manager Cara Doonan said the development was one of the agency’s largest in Auckland. In addition to the homes, which would house 280 people, plans included an on-site office, a small park and community rooms - which could be used for neighbourhood activities.

Making sure to acknowledge Auckland’s other major issue - transport - Twyford pointed out the proximity of the planned Housing New Zealand development to New Lynn’s nearby transit hub, with it only “a 10 to 15-minute walk” away.

When asked about the availability of schools for incoming residents, Twyford said while there were two schools local to the area, as with other large residential developments the Ministry of Education would need to begin planning for extra student numbers.

According to Housing New Zealand plans, the 240 new state homes would be a mix of free-standing homes, single bedroom flats, and multi-room apartments. All are due to have double-glazed windows, insulation and thermal curtains.