Budget supports increase in affordable housing

  • Phil Heatley
Housing Budget 2011

Increasing the pool of affordable and social housing is a key priority for the Government, Housing Minister Phil Heatley says.

A contingency fund of up to $45 million for 2011/12 has been set aside so the Government can respond to recommendations of the Housing Shareholders’ Advisory Group. This will be partly offset by an increase in the dividend to the Crown from Housing New Zealand Corporation of $21 million for 2009/10.

The extra funding will improve the ability of third sector providers to significantly increase the amount of housing available to those on lower incomes or with specialised needs.

“Current financial restraints mean we have had to be innovative, so we are likely to focus the resources previously invested in the Housing Innovation Fund on supporting smaller niche providers while creating a new, larger pool of funding for housing providers which want to grow significantly,” Mr Heatley says.

“We believe this will have a more meaningful impact when supporting third sector providers to build more homes and the Government will now have more flexibility to support larger projects.”

In addition, a new Rural Community Regeneration Programme is being considered as a replacement for the Rural Housing Programme. The community housing sector, including rural and urban iwi, will have access to this funding. Ministers will make final and detailed decisions about the allocation of the contingency fund before 1 July.

“History shows us that every Housing Innovation Fund dollar invested by the Government with a third party provider delivers two or three times as much housing as through government investment alone,” Mr Heatley says.

“We can’t ignore this potential and we will look to use other assets, including housing stock and land, to support the growth of social and affordable housing wherever it is appropriate.”