Notes from Minto for Mayor council housing campaign launch in Christchurch on 25 August:
- There is a huge housing need for tenants and families on low incomes. We have a waiting list of over 1000 in Christchurch for council/state housing. Canterbury also has the second highest percentage growth in need for council/state housing (48% increase from March 2018 to March 2019 – Press 1 July 2019)
- Approximately 300 council houses were destroyed in the earthquakes and well over 100 more have been lost since then as the council has closed and demolished units rather than repair/refurbish them. Cecil Courts and the council’s housing complex in Carey Street are the latest – the removal of another 52 units.
- Council now is working to “transfer” 428 council housing units to the Otautahi Community Housing Trust – out of sight, out of mind. The last thing the current council wants to talk about is its legacy of neglect and indifference to the suffering of families on low incomes.
- Council housing has been run down over 40 years of neglect and underinvestment with enormous levels of human misery as a result. People have been left to suffer in quiet desperation. Congratulations to the courageous tenants who have spoken out last week about the lack of insulation on their cold, damp units.
- The council has bowed to pressure and adopted a corporate-inspired policy saying no rates money will be used for council housing BUT tens of millions has been spent on rates rebates for new private housing in the city centre – many of them luxury apartments. Assuming she buys a new apartment, the current mayor will be a beneficiary of this policy when she moves into the city centre next year. (Our OIA request shows $8.5 million in city centre residential rate rebates from 2014 to 2018 – an average rebate of $15,000 per unit)
- The current council runs a policy of callous indifference and shameful neglect towards council housing while forcing less well off ratepayers to subsidise wealthier ratepayers moving into new apartments in the city centre. So it’s bubble wrap on the windows to keep out the cold for council tenants but $15,000 rates subsidies for luxury apartments in the city centre.
Minto for Mayor Solutions
- Use $220 of the $300 million grant from the government to rebuild and refurbish the council housing portfolio – we would have 1000 additional units to what we have at the present time. This additional supply would reduce rents across the city to the benefit of all low and middle income earners.
- This means no rate increases to pay for the rebuild and upgrade but it does mean spending on the proposed new covered rugby stadium would go to the back of the queue (the current council wants to spend the $220 million on a stadium)
- End rates rebates for new housing in the city centre.
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Under Minto for Mayor every child in Christchurch will have a warm, dry home BEFORE the rugby union gets a new stadium.