Opening of new HNZC offices in Christchurch

  • Phil Heatley
Energy and Resources Housing

It’s great to see Housing New Zealand here in the inner city. Congratulations to everyone for making it happen.  There are signs of progress all around us here and that's very encouraging.

But today I’d like to talk more about the people who live here – in Christchurch and further afield, and what Housing New Zealand is doing to revitalise and rebuild houses in Canterbury.

I am delighted to announce that the Corporation is well on track to complete its ambitious target of repairing 212 damaged houses by the end of this month.  And, very importantly, to be able to say that the houses have been re-tenanted as they have been completed. 

It is a large-scale piece of work with houses right across the city, from east to west.

To date 138 houses have been completed and I am assured that the remainder will be all finished, on schedule, by 31 October.  

The economic benefits to Canterbury have been substantial. 212 house means a huge amount of work with more than 200 contractors and their staff on the job - the Corporation’s budget for the project was $19.1 million. Builders, electricians, plumbers, decorators, roofers and their teams have been working here for several months.

This has also meant downstream work for people who have provided accommodation for out-of-towners, cafes and restaurants in Christchurch and so on, and of course suppliers and transport.

The great thing is that many families who lost or had to leave their homes because of the earthquakes have been able to move into a repaired and refurbished house. 

In the circumstances it is very good news.

The Corporation is also embarking on a major new project this year together with Southern Response, MBIE and Arrow International.  This project will look specifically at land that has been zoned TC3 and possible remediation options.

Housing New Zealand will provide 10 sites to begin with.  The sites will cover a mix of housing types so that repair options can be fully explored. 

And the information that comes out of the trials will be available to everyone.  We need to share the findings so that private operators as well as Housing New Zealand will have quality engineering options to consider.

The Corporation and its partners will be working alongside CERA, Canterbury local authorities, geotechnical and structural engineers as well as building contractors.

As I said earlier, these initiatives involve Housing New Zealand in much more than the residential housing aspect of the earthquake recovery strategy.  We are involved in the rebuild, the economic development and the community. 

Our rebuild is your rebuild.  Our benefits are your benefits. 

In the medium term, Housing New Zealand will be building 200-350 new houses in greater Christchurch.  Like everything else that is being done here, taking advantage of the opportunities for doing things differently and better is paramount. 

Providing quality housing that meets the needs of the 21st century families is essential.  The traditional image of state houses with their tiled roofs and brick walls sitting in the middle of a large section is the image of the past. 

The modern image is something that suits single people, small units and larger families.  We have to take into account the growth patterns of the city, and what it will look like in 10 to 20 years’ time.  This means working alongside the city council, Waimakariri District and of course the Earthquake Recovery Authority. 

Housing New Zealand is the largest provider of social housing in Canterbury.  The Christchurch City Council is also a major player but with more of a focus on housing for older people.

Working with these organisations and with the businesses who will aid the economic recovery is a critical success factor for Housing New Zealand.

Looking forward, and based on what has already started in Canterbury, we can be sure that the way of the future will be significantly different and better for the people here.

I am delighted to open these new offices and to congratulate the Corporation’s recovery team, here and throughout the country, for the work that has been done to date and the work that will be done in the future.