With the Christmas break behind us and that list of New Year’s resolutions posted to the fridge, it’s around this time that we start looking to the year ahead.
Whenever I attend the Papamoa Lions Club Markets, one of the issues you raise with me most often is housing. Whether it’s housing availability, affordability or quality, there is no denying that the housing crisis we inherited persists. And it’s having a big impact on many families.
Before we came into office, the previous government sold off 7000 state houses over nine years – with 1140-plus sold in Tauranga alone. And they did it in the middle of a housing crisis when families were living in cars or motels, and some kids were doing their homework by torchlight.
When this government took over, we immediately stopped the sell-off of state houses. Over the past two years, we’ve also ramped up the building of state houses across the country, adding 3600 homes to our stock. We have another 2400 homes under construction and 13,000 more in the pipeline. Plus we’re now building state homes in the provinces for the first time in decades.
I meet regularly with Accessible Properties, Kainga Ora (previous known as Housing New Zealand) our Councils, the Peoples Project, developers and iwi to keep up to date with our community needs. Our city is desperately short of social housing and options, we're all working to address this.
You may have also seen in December that Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced a $12 billion capital spend, including $6.8 billion for transport projects – I will continue to raise the needs of our growing community to the Finance, and Transport Ministers to ensure that Tauranga gets its fair share of spend.
We know that there is still much to do – and we’re hard at work getting on with it.
Happy New Year!