Affordable Housing - Progress Welcomed

Dec 21, 2010

Key changes to the future direction of affordable housing - announced recently by the government – have been applauded by Queenstown Lakes District Council, which hopes the news will give weighting in support of the local Housing Trust, QLDC chief executive Debra Lawson said.

The government has announced that it will adopt key recommendations of the Housing Shareholders Advisory Group.

“QLDC commends the government and the Housing Shareholders Advisory Group for identifying the potential for a strong community housing sector in New Zealand. This totally aligns with the direction that our district took back in 2005 with the adoption of the Housing Our People in Our Environment (HOPE) Strategy,” Ms Lawson said. 

Implementation of the ‘32-action’ strategy included the formation of the Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust to deliver affordable housing. The Trust has been successful at matching local development contributions (Council-negotiated) with government funds, making housing affordable for local working families.

The issue of whether the Trust will retain its tax-exempt status with the Charities Commission is the subject of a High Court appeal scheduled to be heard in March 2011.

“We hope this new approach from government will also tackle the issue of tax exemption for community housing organisations. It’s essential this matter gets resolved,” Ms Lawson said.

The Council would await further announcements from the government, especially on how the detail of its proposals will be implemented.

It looked like a lot of what Council had been saying had been listened to. “In particular I would like to acknowledge the ground breaking work initially of Council staff and more latterly of the trust. This is clearly a model that can work well,” she said.

Where the Council could contribute skills or expertise, it was happy to continue to participate in the process and the conversation with the government, Ms Lawson said.

Community Housing organisations had a unique position, sitting between local government, central government and the private sector, QLDC senior policy analyst-housing Scott Figenshow said. 

“This has enabled the Trust to secure funding and build alliances that wouldn’t happen otherwise” he said.

For further information please call Debra Lawson or Scott Figenshow 03 441 0449.

By: Andrea Bunting