Post sponsored by NewzEngine.com

Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard

Question No. 8—Housing

8. NICOLA WILLIS (National) to the Minister of Housing: Does she stand by her statement that the Government has “increased the public housing stock by 7,671 since we came into Government in 2017”; if so, why does the most recent Kāinga Ora managed stock quarterly report show that total managed stock is only 4,649 more than reported by Housing New Zealand in its September 2017 managed stock quarterly report?

Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS (Minister of Housing): Yes, we have increased the public housing stock, by 7,671 since we came into Government. I can also confirm that since coming into Government, Kāinga Ora’s total managed stock has increased by 4,649 homes. I would note that Kāinga Ora’s managed stock is different to the public housing stock. Kāinga Ora’s managed stock is inclusive of State houses eligible for the income-related rent subsidy (IRRS) funding alongside community group housing transitional housing that is owned by Kāinga Ora. The 902 houses leased to Ngāti Toa—public housing stock, on the other hand—includes all Kāinga Ora State housing stock as well as those owned or provided by community housing providers. So the 7,671 figure I provided is the change in the number of public housing places between 1 November 2017 and 30 April 2021. As at 1 November 2017, there was a total of 66,216 public housing places, and as at 30 April 2021, there was a total of 73,887 public housing places, a net change of 7,671 places. I note that we have used the smaller of two figures—if we had summed the two numbers the member is talking about, that would have been a net change of 9,773 houses.

Andrew Bayly: Well, I’m confused.

SPEAKER: Well, that’s something the Minister’s not responsible for.

Nicola Willis: Well, can the Minister simply confirm that according to reports published by Housing New Zealand and Kāinga Ora, the number of State rentals in September 2017 was 61,323, and, as of March this year, that number is 64,106—a difference of just 2,783; and how can she possibly reconcile those facts with her exaggerated claims of additional houses.

SPEAKER: Order!

Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS: Mr Speaker, I’m happy to provide the member—

SPEAKER: No, the member will resume her seat. I’m going to let the member ask the question again without the pejorative comment in it. The member’s very lucky.

Nicola Willis: Can the Minister confirm that according to reports published by Housing New Zealand and Kāinga Ora, the number of State rentals in September 2017 was 61,323, and, as of March this year, that number is just 64,106—a difference of 2,783; and how can she possibly reconcile those facts with her claim of 7,000 additional houses?

Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS: I gave a very fulsome primary answer. The member is confused, and if she’d like a briefing on the data sets, I’m happy to arrange for her to be walked through that. But the data set that the member is talking about is Kāinga Ora – owned property. She’s talking about the State rentals in there. What we are talking about is the number of public housing places that are provided, which, of course, also includes public housing places that receive IRRS funding, which are provided by community housing providers (CHPs). Since we came into Government, 5,124 further CHP places have been provided, so I think the member will find, if she looks at the relevant data sets, that all the numbers add up. We are proud that we are building more public houses in this country than has been built in a generation.

Nicola Willis: Can she confirm that she signed off on Kāinga Ora targeting the sale of $37 million worth of State houses in the 2020-21 financial year, and can she update the House on whether they met their target?

Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS: We’ve been through this many times in this House. Kāinga Ora advises me that the total value of public housing properties that it has sold—

SPEAKER: Order! Order! The member’s colleague asked a question, all right? I’m assuming the point of it is to have an answer, and not to have an answer which is drowned out from members on my left.

Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS: I am advised that between 1 September 2017 until 30 November 2020, there were 191 State houses that were sold over this period. This is because they were homes that were no longer fit for purpose, and is a tiny fraction. The value of these sales was $63,879,920. I would note that between the financial years 2014-15 and 2016-17, 1,300 State houses were sold for a total of over $204 million.

Nicola Willis: Can the Minister confirm that the Government has demolished more than 2,000 State houses, and plans to demolish at least 3,000 more in the next three years?

Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS: I certainly can. That’s because this is a Government that is investing in the redevelopment of those State houses, that we are a Government that has actually funded the addition of actually intensifying those areas. That is how we are building more State houses than any Government in a generation.

Nicola Willis: Why did she agree to the transfer of 902 properties out of the State housing rental stock for management by Ngāti Toa, and how is that any different from National’s policy of transferring houses to community housing providers?

Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS: This is a unique arrangement—[Interruption]

SPEAKER: Order! Order! I am going to remind members of discussions that we’ve had recently that have led to potential fairly gross disorder, and I’m going to require this answer to be heard in silence.

Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS: This is a unique arrangement and the first of its kind, that, actually, Kāinga Ora has retained ownership of those properties; they are leased to Ngāti Toa. This is part of what partnership in a modern—[Interruption]—New Zealand looks like.

SPEAKER: Order! There will be two additional questions for the National Party as a result of the interjection to my right.

Nicola Willis: Can she confirm that this year’s housing budget puts aside $360 million specifically “to provide for expenses incurred as part of the sale of land and dwellings”, and why is that?

Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS: This was a question that the member asked at an Estimates hearing yesterday and was given a very fulsome answer around what this is. When you are an agency that is actively adding to the housing stock and there are transactions that go through, and also in terms of when there is also the appropriation as it purports to KiwiBuild, that this is a technical, financial requirement of the Public Finance Act, in terms of the sale of the KiwiBuild houses that were always meant to be sold—this is not about the sale of State houses.

Nicola Willis: Is it correct that the Government’s State house waiting-list is growing around four times as fast as the Government is building houses?

Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS: We are well aware of the size of our public housing waiting-list, and it’s an issue that we are working to resolve. As we constantly remind the Opposition, if they had built State houses instead of selling them off, and built at the rate that we were, we would have 15,000 more public housing places in this country. We are the first Government in many decades to be adding to the number that we are. But we acknowledge, on this side of the House, that there is still plenty of work to do, but we are committed to doing it.

MIL OSI