|In early August 2022, a PowerHousing Australia delegation visited Wellington, New Zealand, for the Rising Stars immersion program. During the three days in Wellington, the delegation met with several community housing providers (CHPs), government agencies, the CHP peak body, councils, representatives for ministers, and the regulator. Our Rising Stars were able to produce some key findings on the sector.
There are approximately 70 Community Housing Providers (CHPs) in New Zealand, providing 16,000 homes which house over 35,000 residents. A new government agency, Kāinga Ora, was established in 2019, replacing what was previously known as Housing New Zealand.
Most CHPs charge social housing rents at 25% of the tenant’s household income, and the government will provide a ‘top up’ a rental subsidy to bring the total household rent to an affordable housing rent which is typically around 30 to 35% of the tenant’s income to market rent.
Issues in the Sector
- Political landscape: The current Labour Government is focused on social housing through public provision.
- Limited investment in CHP sector: The Government provides little funding to CHPs and their is not NZ equivalent of NHFIC to provide cheaper financing costs.
- Inconsistent regulation: Social housing is regulated differently than public housing, which can cause issues with transferred housing stock.
- Stock is in poor condition: Much of the social housing stock is ageing and is in poor condition.
- Aggregated borrowing: The introduction of a NHFIC like entity would allow for expanded financing to NZ CHPs.
- Advocacy from the peak: Continued engagement with the peak NZ CHP body, Community Housing Aotearoa (CHA), to drive best practice on both sides of the Tasman.
- Changing party politics: Emphasise the importance of CHPs in helping to increase social housing provision and avoid becoming a political football.
- Expanded role of regulator: Expand the role of the housing regulator to cover all social housing, both community and public housing.
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