|26 April 2000|
Council And Govt To Hold Joint Housing Meeting
Housing needs in Christchurch are to be discussed at a joint Christchurch City Council-Government meeting within weeks.
The new chief executive of Housing NZ, Michael Lennon, will attend along with senior Government officials from various departments, Council representatives and interested local organisations.
The meeting is the outcome of a meeting today between the Minister of Housing, Mark Gosche, the Mayor, Garry Moore, and members of the Councils housing working party.
Mr Gosche said he hoped a meeting would produce a model for "a couple of pilot initiatives". But he warned there would be money constraints.
"Perhaps we can consider how to tidy up the citys Housing NZ houses and provide new housing in joint ventures," he said.
He wanted discussions to start soon and he said the Council could produce an agenda for his officials to approve.
Todays discussions with Mr Gosche covered many aspects of his portfolio and he said that next months Budget would contain several housing initiatives. He said the Government wanted to get into more home ownership and he was looking at incentives for people to move out of Housing NZ homes.
"We cannot continue to sell any more stock," he said.
Mr Moore asked Mr Gosche to look at more partnerships in providing housing for low-income people. The Minister said he was not against such moves but pointed out that the Government faced many problems, such as income-related rents for State houses, and the maintenance of them.
"There is a great deal of work to be done in refurbishing stock before new building can start," he said.
The culture of past years where Housing NZ operated as a commercial company had to be changed, Mr Gosche said. There also had to be co-operation between government agencies in the housing field.
He was keen on joint ventures, especially in refurbishing existing houses and providing more affordable housing, he said.
There were problems with finding land and the money to build new houses.
Maintenance to be done on State houses was estimated at $16 million, he said. "Maintenance has been pretty patchy around the country. Some is good but other is poor and rorts have been going on," he said.
"Where we can work in mutually beneficial ways we are keen to do so," Mr Gosche said.