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Meeting our urgent need for housing

The announcement this week of a housing partnership between the Government and Toitu Tairawhiti that includes $55 million to support the development of 150 new homes over the next 15 months, and plans for 500 homes over the next four years and 1000 within 10 years, is incredibly welcome news.

It is even more significant for the region than the unprecedented $137m in extra roading investment from central government announced in September 2018 — when our roads were in a terrible state — and a great credit to the iwi collective formed in 2020 to support the region’s response to Covid-19. That they have widened their response and brought the Government on board to help deliver solutions to the greatest problem this region and their people face, a dire lack of affordable housing, is admirable.

The Whai Kainga Whai Oranga fund this investment comes from is already supporting 51 new kainga/homes here and in eastern Bay of Plenty and the 150 is on top of that.

It includes the imminent development of a Builtsmart facility at Aerodrome Business Park where up to 36 workers will build six kainga at a time. That will go up quickly, with its opening already planned for August 4.

Another initiative led by Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki and supported by Kainga Ora will also deliver 150 affordable kainga for purchase or rental — part of the 500 planned over the next four years — on land near Gisborne Hospital, alongside Back Ormond Road.

Building activity has already ramped up in the region in response to the housing crisis, most visibly in Kainga Ora developments and private infill houses.

A recent council report said there was a predicted demand for 2200 new dwellings here by 2030, increasing to 5000 by 2050.

Of 183 houses consented in the year to the end of March 2022 (a 67.9 percent hike on the previous 12-month period), the majority are quality private homes — so not meeting the high and urgent demand for affordable housing.

There are now 606 families in Tairawhiti waiting for public housing, with up to 100 of the applicants “sleeping rough” in cars, tents and sheds. Hundreds of people are living in motels with the Government paying $300 a night for most of them; it would pay for more but there aren’t more rooms available for emergency housing.

We can now see clearly that our iwi leaders, with central government support, have accepted the challenge. Well done to them.

  1. Peter Jones says:

    That’s $360k per house.
    Why don’t they just give each person who needs a new house $360k?

    1. Ken Ovenden says:

      Well Peter, at today’s prices $360k would only cover the garage and one dog kennel, ha.