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Changes to Housing Policy

What does it mean for councils?

November 2017

It is clear that the new government is going to take a different approach to tackling housing issues. This includes how it will increase the number of social houses and social housing providers.


A number of councils were in the process of deciding what they would do with their social housing stock in response to the National Government policies. The National Government had stopped capital grants to councils to help them build and improve their housing stock, and had not allowed them to access Income Related Rent Subsidies (IRRS) when they opened it to other housing providers. These policies encouraged councils to look at divesting their stock or partnering with social housing providers.


Many of those councils part way through this process are now saying let’s stop and wait until we see what the new government does. This is one approach. Another is to get ready for the opportunity the new government may bring. New Zealand First’s election policy was to give more money to councils for pensioner housing. The Greens want to do more to help those who don’t have homes and Labour has said they will make changes to make more social housing available.


So if councils are offered the chance to access funding through grants or the IRRS they will need to understand their assets, be clear about what changes need to be made and have plans in place to improve stock and increase numbers. Those who have done the thinking will have the advantage in taking up what changes may be coming.


Suzanne Townsend

Executive Manager - Central Government


+64 27 228 4586