Comprehensive housing plan includes modular

  • Paula Bennett
Social Housing

The Government is moving ahead with plans to build modular social housing as a part of its comprehensive plan to increase the housing supply and house more vulnerable New Zealanders, Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett says.

Most of the homes will be one or two bedrooms and, while the supplier has not yet been chosen, the properties will be modern and comfortable. If density rules permit, the sites could support between 100 and 140 houses in total.

“Officials are in negotiations to finalise lease arrangements for three sites in south Auckland that are earmarked for future development in the next 10 to 25 years,” Mrs Bennett says.

“Before construction can begin, we also need Auckland Council to finalise the Unitary Plan to enable us to build the desired density.

“We will then move quickly to lodge resource consents, with earthworks to begin by December and the first tenants moving in by autumn 2017.”

Established modular housing providers will shortly have the opportunity to be selected for a panel of preferred suppliers so that construction can begin as quickly as possible once the land is ready and consents obtained.

It is envisioned that the properties will be tenanted with existing social housing tenants who need to be moved so redevelopment can occur, new social housing tenants and people in need of emergency housing.

“While Housing New Zealand has a pipeline of construction underway in Auckland, the tight housing market means we cannot easily move people out while we redevelop existing properties,” Mrs Bennett says. 

“Modular housing is a pragmatic approach that allows us to move ahead with growing the supply of social and affordable housing, while continuing to house the people who most need our support.

“These three sites will test the cost, speed of construction, availability and efficiency of modular building methods. Once these are underway, I would expect that the delivery of modular housing will speed up,” Mrs Bennett says.

Modular housing was previously used in Canterbury following the devastating earthquakes.

This next step in building modular homes is just part of the Government’s comprehensive plan to address housing issues for vulnerable people. Other initiatives include:

  • Housing New Zealand and community housing providers are building, buying or leasing around 3000 extra houses in Auckland over the next three years;
  • Investing $41.1 million in emergency accommodation and a non-recoverable special needs grant to support those with the most urgent need for housing
  • Giving people more options about where in NZ they can live by offering a relocation grant to people who struggle to afford the costs of moving
  • Growing the community housing sector by making providers eligible to receive ongoing funding through the Income Related Rent Subsidy, and considering transferring some HNZ properties to them for ongoing use as social housing
  • Freeing up properties for those in most pressing need through tenancy reviews, which has seen 572 people move into private accommodation and 92 purchase their own home
  • Supporting people transition into greater independence in private accommodation by paying things like bond and letting fees
  • Launched a dedicated housing service for young people who are homeless which also aims to help them gain the life skills needed to live independently.