Government to require councils to consult with community before selling pensioner housing

  • Sandra Lee
Local Government

Housing Minister Mark Gosche and acting Local Government Minister Matt Robson today announced that council pensioner housing was to be made a council strategic asset under the Local Government Bill.
“This change will make it clear that councils that want to sell their pensioner housing will first need to consult with their community,” Mr Gosche and Mr Robson said.
“The Government is aware that a number of councils are considering selling their pensioner housing. Special provision would, therefore, be included in the Bill to make housing a strategic asset and for that to come into force on 15 April 2002,” the Ministers said.
The Local Government Bill, currently before Parliament, contains strengthened community consultation provisions with councils being required to establish a list of strategic assets. However, as the Bill stands, only shares in port and airport companies are deemed to be strategic assets.
“Many local councils have played an important part in providing low cost housing, especially for the elderly, with assets built up over a number of years. In many cases this was done with Government assistance in the form of low interest loans and grants,” said Mr Gosche and Mr Robson.
The Ministers said that the Local Government Bill places a high importance on careful consideration of the long-term impact of council decisions, particularly those involving strategic assets.
“This change ensures that council decisions which could irrevocably affect the housing choices of the elderly are made in a considered way and take into account the views of the community,” the Ministers said.