Govt not 'hands off' on housing

TIM FULTON
Last updated 15:46 04/07/2014

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Labour and the Greens were wrong to say the Government has adopted a "hands-off" approach to Christchurch's housing problems, a spokeswoman for the Housing Minister says. 

A Treasury memo to ministers several months ago predicted the city's housing crisis could get worse in the next three years.

A spokeswoman for Housing Minister Nick Smith said in a statement while there was no magic bullet, there was "ample evidence" the Government was making good progress.

Examples included the signing of a Housing Accord with the Christchurch City Council, building four temporary accommodation villages and providing temporary accommodation assistance to more than 2500 households at a cost of more than $40.5 million.

The Government had also partnered with community groups to provide more than $34m in grants for social and affordable housing in Canterbury.

Housing New Zealand was also investing $1.2 billion into the Canterbury Investment Plan over the next 10 years.

Under the Christchurch Housing Accord, the Government would work with the council to set up a new social and affordable housing entity and invest $75m into a Christchurch Housing Accord Fund.

This fund would be used to further new housing developments and new temporary accommodation villages, other housing initiatives and to increase the supply of housing in Christchurch.

Treasury officials' March 11 memo to Finance Minister Bill English and associate Minister of Finance Steven Joyce said: "We think the market is unlikely to deliver the scale of housing required to meet demand in

Canterbury over the short term and there is a case for government intervention to help address the lack of affordable housing."

The officials advised the ministers that "indicators suggest there will be a significant shortfall of housing for the next two years, and that this may worsen, before starting to improve in year three".

The Government expects the first of the Christchurch housing accord homes to be completed and occupied by the end of this year.

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