The budget announcement that the government will deliver 6000 additional public houses (and 2000 transitional houses) over the next four to five years is deeply disappointing. This number includes houses to be provided by private community housing providers. The number of state houses the government will provide is not stated but based the current social housing plan (whereby the Government provides 75% of new state houses) this means that only 4500 will be state houses.
It will be Kainga Ora who will paying for this so the sum result is there will be about 1000 additional state houses a year built and central Government will not be paying for any of them.
By getting Kainga Ora to borrow the $5 billion to build these houses the government will keep that debt off its books despite the fact the government can borrow money more cheaply than Kainga Ora. Good politics but not so good value for money for those is need of state housing.
This announcement comes the day after data was released showing the state house waiting list has skyrocketed to 16,309 – nearly tripling since this Government came to power. The budgeted additional state houses will only slow down and not reduce this waiting list. Instead it will balloon further with the Covid 19 downturn.
Recently Infometrics called for 5000 additional social houses a year. Only this type of increase will address the current social housing crisis – not the token effort the Government has announced.
Tenants and families on low incomes deserve better than this.
These are the people who are the first to be fired and the last to be hired. They will bear the brunt of the economic and social crisis created by the pandemic but they have been poorly treated in this budget with respect to housing.