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Back on track with Kainga Ora homes

Building work will resume on 11 Kainga Ora homes in Gisborne when the country moves to Alert Level 2 tomorrow. These homes are part of two developments under construction in Gisborne.

Public housing provider Kainga Ora (formerly Housing NZ) will also continue with design development for 41 additional homes across four more Gisborne sites, programme director Nick Seymour said.

“They are at various stages of development and the last is likely to be completed by mid-2021.

“We have been working together with our build partners to ensure we can resume building in Gisborne promptly and safely after we enter Alert Level 2.

“We are on track to move quickly when this happens,” Mr Seymour said.

In the last reporting period Gisborne had 1257 public housing tenancies and 305 applicants on the housing register, leaving a considerable deficit in supply compared with demand.

Building activity on public housing sites is back on track with nearly all 300 work sites across New Zealand expected to be up and running again this week, Housing Minister Dr Megan Woods said.

Under last week's move to Level 3, 240 Kainga Ora public housing work sites had builders back at work. Nearly 60 more sites will be operating again in the coming days.

“The Government wants to get the economy moving again and people back to work. Our house-building programme creates jobs and homes, both of which are so essential at the moment,” Dr Woods said.

“Getting back to work is helping to keep cash flowing through to more than 100 build partners and contractors, and that has huge flow-on for the rest of the economy.

“Kainga Ora has approximately 3000 state, market and affordable homes under construction valued at around $1.5 billion so this is a real boost to economic activity. Of this, around $530 million will be paid for construction work still to be delivered so that's a sizeable income stream still to make its way toward Kainga Ora's build partners.

“The construction industry is one of the best multipliers of investment with every dollar spent estimated to deliver around three dollars in the wider economy.''

Of the 300 Kainga Ora sites, about one third are in the Auckland region with another third in the Wellington region. The remainder are in Christchurch, Hamilton, and spread throughout other locations around the country.

Dr Woods says as well as the homes being built, another 7000 more are in the planning, feasibility and procurement stages, with over 3000 to be contracted and have construction start in the next 12 months.

Residential building accounts for half of all construction in New Zealand and Kainga Ora is a significant player, making up about 7 percent of the residential build market.

“This is significant for not only helping to meet demand for quality homes, but also because it provides a valuable pipeline of work for thousands of people in the building sector and related industries like surveyors, architects and planners.

“Kainga Ora will be ensuring a greater volume of housing development gets under way as soon as possible,” Dr Woods said.

“The Kainga Ora restart also sends a signal to the whole industry that it's time to pick up the tools again.”

MOVING QUICKLY: Programme director Nick Seymour is expecting building to resume promptly on Kainga Ora projects like this one in Abbott St, once the country enters Covid-19 Alert Level 2 tomorrow. Picture by Liam Clayton