National | Housing

Gov’t demolishes more houses than it builds

Kāinga Ora, the government’s housing arm has demolished more houses in 2022, than it has built, according to data from the department.

Information from the Government Housing Dashboard reveals 202 houses have been demolished since January, while just 193 have been built, a net loss of nine homes.

The figures come as National is slamming Labour’s housing policies as "failed", alleging it has spent more than $1 billion on emergency housing since it came to power.

“Labour promised it would solve New Zealand’s housing crisis," National’s housing spokesperson Nicola Willis said. "Five years on, taxpayers have paid more than $1 billion in emergency housing special needs grants, mainly to motels, with thousands of people living in motels for months at a time.”

“The government says state houses are the solution but has allowed the state house waiting list to explode from fewer than 6000 people when National left office, to more than 27,000 today."

'Disastrous for vulnerable families'

The government’s emergency housing policy was a "get-rich-quick scheme" for motel owners, Willis said, but added it had been "disastrous for vulnerable families".

National would partner with community housing providers to build more social housing, Willis said. It would remove Resource Management Act barriers and work with local government to fund infrastructure.

“The community housing sector is ready and willing to grow, it just needs a government that will back it,” she said.

Willis panned the government’s KiwiBuild, home-building plan, saying under 2% of homes promoted during Labour’s election campaign, have actually been built.

“Only 1365 of the 100,000 Kiwibuild homes promised have been delivered,” she said.

'Short-term approach'

Motels were a short-term fix to Aotearoa’s housing problems, Willis said, but claimed under Labour, it was seen as a solution.

“The government seems to have given up on solving underlying drivers of emergency housing need, instead opting for the short-term approach of writing a big cheque and looking the other way, Willis said.

“Labour has failed on housing. The state house waitlist has quadrupled, rents are up $150 per week and now the government has spent $1 billion on housing people in motels.”

Kāinga Ora has previously championed what it called "deconstruction" projects, where it demolishes and recycles existing houses, to make way for new but much higher density social housing, particularly in urban areas like Tāmaki Makaurau.

In Budget 2021, the Government committed $730 million for Māori housing developments such as papakāinga– including a $380 million promise to build 1000 homes.

Housing Minister Megan Woods has been asked for comment.