Graham McNeill waits for a bus in Corstorphine. He owns a
former state house and has also built a few in his time as
a builder. The social housing sector is now set for a big
shake-up, with the surplus being sold and others able to be
transferred to other social agencies. Photo by Dan
State houses could be managed alongside the Dunedin City
Council's housing portfolio and other social housing following
changes announced by the Government last week.
The Government has ''agreed in principle'' and allowed $141
million to establish a new entity to work with and help fund
third-party social housing providers.
Housing minister Nick Smith said the latest step was to
enable the transfers of Housing New Zealand (HNZ) homes
(state houses) to community housing providers.
The latest move could bring Dunedin's Social Housing Forum
out of hibernation. It was formed two years ago after a
council-commissioned social housing needs assessment
highlighted ''significant challenges'' for the future.
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said the council would want to be
talking with the new entity as soon as possible to see what
the options were for Dunedin.
He said it did not matter who ran the houses as long as needs
were being adequately met.
Talks had been held between the council and Housing New
Zealand several years ago to see if there was an ''appetite''
to combine resources.
Council community adviser Paul Coffey said a detailed report
in 2012 recommended a single organisation should co-ordinate
social housing provision in Dunedin, with the city facing an
''uncertain future'' and unlikely to be a priority for
The forum had met several times over the past two years with
many social housing providers, including Pact, IHC, Salvation
Army and the council involved.
Some ''very initial discussions'' had also been held with
Ngai Tahu, Mr Coffey said.
The council has about 950 social housing units and Housing
New Zealand has more than 1400 in Dunedin.
Mr Coffey said the council accommodation was mainly for
people over the age of 55 who could not afford to pay market
Council housing complemented Housing New Zealand's stock,
which tended to focus on families, and there would be
benefits to combining the two, Mr Coffey said.
He said as people's needs changed with age and a bigger
portfolio meant there were more options to meet particular
An ageing population and more lifelong renters with no equity
were the main factors increasing demand for social housing.
Mr Coffey said social housing portfolios would only work if
the properties were sold below market valuation. Otherwise
''the figures just don't add up''.
The council's housing portfolio is self-funding, with rents
put back into maintenance, upgrades and new properties.
Mr Smith said the new entity would be developed over the next
six months and was part of a goal to ''grow and diversify''
the social housing sector.