“..the biggest overhaul of housing policy since the time of the First Labour Government”

This is how Housing Minister Phil Twyford described the new Government’s housing policies in his speech in Auckland on 1st December. Having just passed the Healthy Housing Bill into law, he is moving on to the other tasks the new government has set itself in changing housing in this country.

He told those at the gathering that he is already working with Housing NZ on how to build back in tenancy management that gives a better face to working with tenants on an ongoing relationship.

He also re-stated his commitment with work with Community Housing Aotearoa on a multi-year plan on how to work together to grow the sector in an ambitious and sustainable way.

He clearly rejected the “quasi-market” approach of the previous government  with community housing organisations competing for subsidies. Instead he talked the language of community, with providers and advocates working in partnership with government to benefit from the innovation and diversity the community sector brings.

He gave a brief outline of what the new Housing Commission that is part of the coalition agreements is intended to do. He describes it as a national urban development authority that will lead large-scale projects to build whole communities with a mix a state, community housing plus affordable Kiwibuild homes for first home buyers as well as open market homes.

Homelessness was another focus of his speech with the Minister committing to developing a NZ Strategy to End Homelessness together with the sector. While recognising the need to continue to build on the promising start to Housing First initiatives and consolidated the expansion of capacity in emergency housing, he acknowledged that the best and most enduring solution to homelessness is to build more houses.

Reviewing tenancy law is another commitment confirmed with the Healthy Homes Bill already passed into law on 30th November, the review is aimed to deliver more security for renters than the current out-dated legislation.