Government offloads 2800 state houses to Auckland development company
Ownership and management of 2800 state houses will be transferred to an Auckland redevelopment company, as the Government moves to offload some of its massive stock of housing in Auckland.
The houses will be transferred to the Tamaki Redevelopment Company (TRC), “to encourage regeneration”, said Finance Minister Bill English and Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith in an announcement on Thursday.
Twyford said the TRC was a “fledgling” company, which did not have the expertise to look after 8000 tenants.
“Acting Prime Minister Bill English has been casting around to find someone, anyone, who will take state houses off him, in order to give his sell-off policy some legitimacy after the Salvation Army and the Methodist Mission panned the policy and ruled themselves out as buyers.
“The Tamaki Redevelopment Company has been setting itself up to lead the redevelopment of the area’s housing stock. Now Bill English’s desperation to sell off state houses has seen him foist 2800 houses on them, forcing them to become one of the country’s biggest landlords overnight.”
Twyford said the company had no plans to become a landlord. “They came to Parliament only a few weeks ago and expressed frustration at the slow pace of redevelopment. They expressed no intention to become a landlord or social housing provider and no such intention exists within their annual report, constitution or letters of intent,” Twyford said. “In his desperation to look like he is doing something, Bill English’s risky move at Tamaki could put a half-billion dollar asset, 8000 state house tenants, and an important urban renewal project in jeopardy.”
But English said TRC planned to build about 7500 new houses in place of 2500 existing ones over the next 10 to 15 years. “Over half of the new houses will be sold to help offset construction costs, and the remainder will be retained as social housing. Our bottom line is that there will be at least as many social houses in Tamaki as the 2800 there now.”
Auckland Mayor Len Brown said it was a positive step towards the strategic long-term vision for the area. “Our aim is to create liveable communities and affording housing options for people right across the region and the Tamaki area will be a testament to what we can achieve when central and local government work together.”
These protest groups can have their hikoi and huis; but we prefer to build high quality homes, provide jobs, reduce the number of people the State is supporting, and provide opportunities for our residents to move from dependence to independence like many others before them.
So they plan to “reduce the number of people the State is supporting”. No wonder residents are worried. They didn’t ask to be in the front-lines of this ideological experiment. The rest of NZ needs to keep a close eye on the TRC and developments in Tamaki.