New Zealand’s biggest councils will have a greater say in the allocation of local government funds, as part of the country’s biggest housing and homelessness crisis in decades.
Key points:The plan will provide local governments with an extra $6 billion over four years, with $1.5 billion in new funding allocated over four-years and $4 billion in existing funding in 2018The plan is expected to be introduced in parliament this monthThe move is seen as a major boost for local authorities in the face of a nationwide shortage of housing and support for vulnerable residents.
It will give local councils an extra 10 per cent of their annual allocation for housing and community-based services and will boost their annual spending on affordable housing by $1 billion.
“It will provide councils with an additional $6.5bn in housing funding over four decades, with the bulk of that coming from the Government’s $1bn Housing Affordability and Transformation Fund, which has already been used to support hundreds of thousands of Kiwis,” the Government said in a statement.
“Local councils will also have greater access to additional resources and assistance, including through the Building Communities fund, which will provide extra support for the vulnerable.”
Auckland’s Auckland Council and Otago’s Otago Regional Council are expected to get a boost in their local funding.
New Zealand’s Housing Affords programme was set up in 2014 to provide the nation’s first national support for affordable housing.
The funding is now being phased out and the Government is looking to shift to a more cost-effective, longer-term funding model.
The Government is also looking to improve the quality of housing for those in need by ensuring there is adequate social support.
Under the plan, councils will be able to invest up to $1,000 per household per year for two years.
The Government will also provide an additional grant of up to 1,000 homes for families and up to 30 new housing units for Auckland’s older people.
That’s expected to create over 30,000 more affordable homes in Auckland.
The plan comes as a record number of people in Auckland’s housing crisis continue to fall through the cracks.
Over 50,000 people are living in insecure and unsafe accommodation, according to data from the City of Auckland.
“The Government and local councils need to deliver a fair share of housing support to meet the challenges facing Auckland,” the statement said.
The housing plan comes just months after Auckland Mayor Lianne Dalziel announced a $1 million grant to help fund new affordable housing for the city’s older residents.
The announcement followed a scathing report into the quality and quantity of affordable housing in Auckland which said the city was still “in the dark” on what was being provided.
“There’s still a long way to go, but we are now seeing some of the first results of a plan to provide affordable housing to people at risk of homelessness, as well as the very first results from the Auckland Housing Affair,” the report said.
While the Government has already committed $7.2 billion over five years for affordable rental housing, there are still a lot of Kiwi families living in extreme poverty.
In a statement, the Government says the new plan will be a big step forward in helping address Auckland’s homelessness crisis.
“The plan also provides a much-needed boost to Auckland’s economy as it ensures that councils have more money to provide housing support, provide affordable and appropriate housing, and support and provide supportive services to those in poverty,” it said.
“This will be the biggest step forward yet for housing in New Zealand.”
The plan has been supported by Housing NZ, the Auckland Council, the Otago Region Council and the Auckland City Council.