Another example of fine reporting work by Radio New Zealand emerged this morning.
Its intrepid reporters have, with the assistance of the Ombudsman, unearthed a report which said that the Government’s approach to social and affordable housing is fragmented and lacks a robust plan.
From the Radio New Zealand website:
The external review of the Social Housing Reform Programme noted that, in Auckland, three ministers and four government agencies lacked an overall plan to boost housing supply.
It found the government needed to “increase the overall supply of housing, particularly in Auckland”.
In the review, consultants Leonie Freeman and Michael Miles looked at the government’s aim to provide social housing largely by paying providers.
They found the target of providing 65,000 income-related rent subsidy places by mid-next year lacked a robust plan. They noted problems with monitoring progress.
The report expressed concern about progress in clarifying Housing New Zealand’s role in the new community housing market.
“Decisions are yet to be taken on the Boston Consulting Group review of HNZC’s ongoing role and structure – these decisions are critical.”
The review recommended a Social Housing Programme office, which would answer to key ministers and establish a single agency to manage property sales and the redevelopment of Crown land.
The decision to withhold the report was extremely cynical. The use of the grounds advanced by Paula Bennett, that to release it would “prejudice the quality of information received” and “the wider public interest of effective government would not be served” is contemptible. Using this rationale no review report would ever be released. Having a review cause a Government political embarrassment because of its totally inadequate efforts should never be justification for withholding a report paid for by the public.
And the Government needs to get on with the job, borrow another of Labour’s policies and start building. Paying third party providers money to keep existing beds open and calling them new beds is not going to do anything for people facing the effects of the housing crisis.