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New Zealand Govt to Carefully Consider Housing Report
Source: beehive.govt.nz
Source Date: Friday, August 06, 2010
Focus: Knowledge Management in Government
Country: New Zealand
Created: Aug 08, 2010

The Government is carefully considering the Housing Shareholders' Advisory Group report on options for improving the social and affordable housing sector, Finance Minister Bill English and Housing Minister Phil Heatley said today.

"The aim of this review was to identify how we could help those most in need get the assistance they need for as long as they need it," Mr Heatley said.

"The Government has around $15 billion invested in social housing and is committed to retaining state housing. However, a significant number of houses are in a poor state of repair, are of the wrong size and are in the wrong places to meet demand.

"We want to ensure this significant asset is utilised to the best effect. We also want the system to be fairer and to work better for those families most in need," he said.

The independent Group's report identifies a number of challenges to be addressed regarding social and affordable housing in New Zealand. It makes 19 recommendations, which the Group believes will help to ensure New Zealanders have access to social and affordable housing in the future.

Mr Heatley said the Housing Shareholders' Advisory Group had produced a comprehensive report and, in the process, would help to generate constructive debate.

He welcomed the Group's call for the need to diversify the funding of social housing by increasing community sector involvement.

"I note the Advisory Group's concern that many countries are grappling with similar issues but New Zealand has yet to adopt some of the strategies observed offshore to address them," he said.

Mr English said the Group had decided to widen its brief and include housing affordability and social housing's relationship with the wider benefit system.
"As the scope of the report has widened, it needs further consideration and we want to gain a deeper understanding of the issues and to get feedback from the wider sector and officials before making any decisions on the report," he said.
"There are a number of challenges to be addressed and there is no quick fix. We want to ensure we carefully consider the report and consult with the sector before considering any changes to government policy," he said.
"We have asked the Housing Shareholders' Advisory Group to engage with key stakeholders in the wider sector on the implications arising from their recommendations and to report back to the Government later in the year."
Mr English said the Government would only consider making changes to the current system if it meant it was going to work better and deliver the right results for those most in need.

The seven-member Advisory Group was chaired by Dr Alan Jackson, a former senior vice-president in the Auckland office of global consultancy firm, the Boston Consulting Group.

Other members of the Group included Major Campbell Roberts (Salvation Army), Diane Robertson (Auckland City Mission), Brian Donnelly (New Zealand Housing Foundation) and Paul White (iwi, social services and housing), who all have considerable experience working in the social and affordable housing sector. Andrew Body and Martin Udale are experienced in the business, banking, corporate and investment communities.

Mr English and Mr Heatley commended the Group for its work so far and thanked them for the professional job they had done.

"We look forward to hearing back from the Group later in the year on the outcomes of their discussions with the wider sector."
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