New housing ministry on the way

The Government has announced the creation of a new standalone housing ministry. Photo: John Sefton.

The Government has announced it will create a standalone housing ministry, as it seeks to deliver on its big promises to address the housing crisis.

Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford has announced the creation of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, which will be formally established in August and start running from October.

Twyford said the new ministry would be the Government's lead adviser on housing and urban development issues, providing advice on the response to homelessness, improving the quality and affordability of rental properties, and providing support for first home buyers.

“Addressing the national housing crisis is one of the biggest challenges our Government faces. The new ministry will provide the focus and capability in the public service to deliver our reform agenda,” he said.

The ministry will cannibalise some of the functions, and possibly operational funding, from existing agencies:

  • from MBIE: housing and urban policy functions, the KiwiBuild programme, and the Community Housing Regulatory Authority;
  • from MSD: policy for emergency, transitional and public housing; and
  • from the Treasury: monitoring of Housing New Zealand and the Tamaki Redevelopment Company.

Twyford said the changes would not affect where the public went for housing support, with MSD continuing to provide help and managing the public housing register.

The announcement comes as the Government tries to make good on its pre-election commitments to tackle the housing crisis, including the KiwiBuild programme to build 100,000 "affordable" homes over 10 years (with half in Auckland).

The Salvation Army has raised concerns about uncertainty around KiwiBuild, while the building industry has also questioned whether there is the capacity to deliver on what was promised.