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Kainga Ora rejects social media claims

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Kainga Ora says it is not planning to build public housing in this area of Cook Street, Howick, contrary to claims made on social media. Times photo Wayne Martin

Kainga Ora – formerly Housing NZ – is swatting down claims made on social media it’s planning to build public housing at two adjacent sites in east Auckland.

A member of a local community Facebook page recently posted a screenshot of another post made on a different page that was directed at people who live near the intersection of Cook Street and Rodney Street in Howick.

The author asks if anyone on the Facebook page, which has 15,000 members, has been told or sent a letter about a “company called Kainga Ora housing developments”, which the author states is building 12 state houses on two adjacent properties in Cook Street.

The post says the development could contain properties that are two- or three-storeys high.

It also says Auckland Council approved the plan in May this year and the author has spoken to the council about the development.

The post ends with the author saying they think building work will start “around Christmas time”.

The Facebook post drew more than 70 comments, many from people unhappy such a development was apparently planned for the location.

Others said it is positive news and people need somewhere to live.

Several people also commented about the issue of housing intensification and said building multiple homes on one or two sections can strain local infrastructure, such as wastewater, and cause problems around parking spaces.

Kainga Ora lists on its website the sites it’s developing and there’s no mention of the supposed development in Cook Street.

The Times asked Kainga Ora if the agency has bought the two properties in question and if so, what its plans for the sites are.

Kainga Ora regional director central and east Auckland, John Tubberty, says: “We are not the owner of the properties, nor do we have any current plans to acquire the properties.”

The agency also says it is not in talks with the owner or developer of the properties to build public housing on them.

The Facebook post and resulting debate comes several months after the Times reported more than 640 people had signed a petition calling for a halt to a plan to build dozens of new public housing places at a development in Huntington Park, which this week was damaged in a large blaze.

Officials from Kainga Ora fronted a heated public meeting in Botany earlier this year to discuss the development, which features 48 new one-, two-, and three-bedroom homes, as well as 62 off-street parking spaces and a community room for residents.

One attendee said irate residents shouted at the officials, who threatened to leave if people didn’t calm down.

The Huntington Park Residents and Ratepayers Association has written to Housing Minister Dr Megan Woods, the Howick ward’s two councillors, and the Howick Local Board about the group’s opposition to the development.

The group is concerned at what it says is a lack of consultation by Kainga Ora and issues that could arise including around extra traffic, a lack of parking space for vehicles, and diminished sunlight due to the size of the public housing complex being constructed.

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