Council should ‘step up’ in housing issue

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THE district has few, if any, social housing providers and this is a major issue Gisborne District Council needs to address, says councillor Manu Caddie.
Mr Caddie said he struggled with the “central thesis” of the Role of Council in Housing Issues report presented to the
council this week, which said the provision of housing had not normally been seen as a local authority function.
“Three councils alone have more than 6500 social housing units, so there are probably more than 20,000 council-managed properties around the country and many councils have been providing social housing since the 1930s.”
Mr Caddie said “far from taking full responsibility for housing issues”, Government was clearly retreating from the sector and that left a gap for local authorities to fill . . . “perhaps in a review of current social housing provision but definitely in
understanding the housing needs and priorities of the district.
“No central government agency is now going to do that.”
Mr Caddie said Government programmes like the Kainga Whenua programme, designed to help those wanting to build on multiply-owned Maori land, had failed.
“Only four loans have been granted in two years, which has taken millions away from initiatives like the rural housing programme, that has provided assistance for many properties in the Gisborne district to have minor repairs to make them healthier and safer.
“Gisborne has few, if any, social housing providers. This is a major issue the council needs to help address.
“That doesn’t mean the council has to provide social housing but it could mean a review of our pensioner housing to see if it is the best use for the asset.
“We really need to understand the local issues. A council staff member has recently discovered that the WINZ accommodation
supplement for Gisborne is lower than in Rotorua, where the average rent is lower.
“In the absence of any other organisation doing this kind of analysis, the council must step up or support a regional community housing organisation to develop.”
Senior economic development officer Phil Wauchop, in the report for the community development committee, said a clear understanding of central government, local government and other key stakeholders’ roles was needed.
Mr Wauchop said responsibilities and priorities, plus funding mechanisms, was “the first step required” to ensure an effective
management of housing issues.
“The role of local government in housing issues have varied over time and often reflected the role and policy implications adopted
by the central government of the day.
“Traditionally, the local government stance is that core social assistance spending is a taxpayer responsibility, not the ratepayer’s.
“This stance has been based on the view that the role of income redistribution belongs to the entity that has access to the income tax base.”
THE GISBORNE HERALD | 13 April 2012
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2 thoughts on “Council should ‘step up’ in housing issue

  1. One thing councils could do at next to no cost is open up more areas for tent cities, these are fast becoming the housing option for the poor in the USA, and as we always follow global trends …..
    It would also be good if councils could ease housing rules, so someone can build a granny flat to accommodate returning family and the elderly. We are coming to a time in our development when looking after or own is becoming more common again.
    The only good thing about peak oil is, for a while it will bring families closer.
    The council needs to encourage more independence in the comunity, by first being more hands off.

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