Govt to borrow $5 billion to add 8,000 state houses
The Government will borrow $5 billion in the next four to five years to build 8000 state houses (including transitional) in partnership with housing providers.
National’s housing spokeswoman Judith Collins said it appeared to be similar to the previous National-led Government’s policy – which Labour was highly critical of – to partner with housing providers to boost overall supply.
It comes as the state housing waiting list is at a record high of about 15,000, almost three times as much as it was when the Government came to power in 2017.
The 8000 new homes will be split between 6000 state houses and 2000 transitional homes.
A Government spokesperson said construction had not started on any of the 8000 homes, meaning they would all be additional to the overall housing stock.
They will also be on top of the 6400 state houses in the four years to 2022 that the Government announced in 2018, and the 1000 transitional homes announced in February as part of the Government’s plan to house the homeless.
Along with the expected borrowing, Budget 2020 includes $570 million in new funding for the build programme.
Private sector to build 30% of the State Houses
About 70 per cent of the homes to be built will be done by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, while 30 per cent will be built by housing providers – but they will be owned by those providers.
Housing Minister Megan Woods said the announcement sent a strong signal to the construction sector so it could secure investment, retain staff and employ those who would benefit from a new Budget 2020 package to make specific trades training free for two years.
She said an extra $100 million would cover 1650 extra state houses under the income-related rent subsidy for people who had been housed ahead of schedule over the past two and a half years.
She also announced $56 million to boost the Government’s insulation and heating programme, estimated to make 9000 more homes warmer.
The proportion of costs of an insulation and/or heating retrofit that the Government will pay for will be boosted for low-income households – from 67 per cent to 90 per cent.
The Warmer Kiwi Homes programme is part of Labour’s confidence and supply agreement with the Green Party. So far the programme has provided more than 20,000 insulation and heating retrofits since it began in July 2018.
Woods added that more than 90 per cent of the insulation products installed through the programme are made in New Zealand.
adapted from source
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