State houses: More homes hit the million dollar mark

Almost $30 million of state houses were built in the Howick Local Board area in 2018/2019.

Figures obtained by the Times from Kainga Ora – formerly Housing NZ – under the Official Information Act (OIA) show 38 units were built in 2018/2019 in the local board area which includes Pakuranga, Howick, Botany, Flat Bush and East Tamaki. In total these cost $29.49m.

Kainga Ora said the spreadsheet “shows the new state houses in the …Howick Local Board area with the associated costs. Note this excludes buy-ins – houses that have been lived in previously.”

The Crown agency would not reveal the addresses.

“Details of the property addresses have been withheld under section 9(2)(a) of the OIA to protect the privacy of our tenants,” Kainga Ora said.

The Times did ask the agency for figures in the Pohutukawa Coast area too and was provided with broader Franklin Local Board statistics entitled Pukekohe which the Times is excluding due to potential confusion.

Kainga Ora does state though: “There are 1005 state house units in the Franklin and Howick Local Board areas with a combined book value of $579.5 million.”

Meanwhile Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown said the purchase of million-dollar state houses last year is public money badly spent.

Confirmation from the Minister for Housing that her department bought five properties in Howick last year for nearly $1m each should anger hard-working taxpayers, he said.

“The Government bought five properties in Nelson Street last year at a cost of almost $1m each. Why the Government is spending up large on premium homes for their state housing portfolio is beyond me, and Kiwis shouldn’t have their hard-earned tax dollars spent so carelessly.”

Brown acknowledged that everyone needed a roof over their heads and that many would like to live in million-dollar homes, but he believed the Government should be spending the money more effectively.

“This money could have been used to buy more houses at a cheaper price elsewhere or used to develop Housing New Zealand land into many more properties for those in need,” said Brown.

“The Pakuranga electorate is home to countless New Zealanders who have worked incredibly hard to save enough money to buy homes in these suburbs.

“There are hundreds of thousands of Kiwis working hard to scrape together enough money to buy their own home, with budgets much lower than these million dollar homes.”

He said just like families saving for their first home, the Government should be prudent with its resources to get the best bang for the taxpayers buck.

“This once again shows that this Government has no plan on Housing. The Government came to office with a plan to build 100,000 houses over 10 years and has failed to deliver on this promise and is instead resorting to buying up houses on the open market,” Brown said.

“New Zealand needs real solutions to fix our housing problems, such as fixing the Resource Management Act and supporting first home buyers, ssues which National will not be afraid to tackle if we win Government later this year.”



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