(Graphic from FridayHomes.co.nz–Kapiti Escape)

“We all know about the housing crisis gripping New Zealand, and at KCDC we have been working toward a housing programme,” says Cr Rob McCann. “Staff have reported on the progress for the last quarter in the latest Quarterly Report, which was presented to councilors at the Strategy and Operations Committee Meeting on Thursday 18 March.”

These are some of the key aspects:

Emergency Housing
Covid-19 increased the need for emergency housing and there was a real concern that demand might exceed supply. To ensure this did not occur, council brought together local community organisations, the Ministry of Social Development and together council to generate a range of short and medium term solutions. 

Progress on agreed Housing Programme actions
Council have completed the first stage of an audit of land it owns in residential areas. While not significant, some land has been identified for further consideration.  

Staff have also been supporting several parties that are exploring opportunities to develop small-scale social and affordable housing developments. This is actually really important, because large land developers are often repeating a process that have been undertaken many times. They know the system, the hoops and the developments are often not in the affordable category. 

Smaller developers that want to undertake developments because they are motivated to make the world a better place often have less experience, and/or, what they are proposing does not fit into the current set of rules. And if you’re wondering, there are a great many rules and regulations, some of which are we as a council make, some of which are imposed on us.  

Typically, social housing might have a higher density of people in a smaller area, individual houses might have smaller footprints and more efficient use of space, they might also have different forms of ownership and even communal spaces etc, all of which have the potential to be problematic. So to help with this, the council have been supporting these types of developments with additional advice. 

Staff have also been working with iwi to ensure they are involved throughout this process of developing a housing programme and with Te Puni Kpkiri to also support local iwi in this space. The key action will be the Housing and Social Needs Assessment. 

“We’ve also been talking to a range of social housing providers, local organisations and government agencies to build relationships and promote the potential development of social housing.”

What councillors are doing now
“As councillors, we have worked our way through months of briefings and meetings to prepare a draft Long Term Plan, and at the time of writing this,” says Rob McCann, “we’ve agreed that housing is a significant issue that council should have a more active role in”.  

“Councillors have also agreed to a significant funding proposal that will support a programme of work. Now the second part of the consultation process is about to begin. That’s where the public can comment on the draft LTP, and answer the questions that we are putting to the community, one of which is about housing” – Should Council take a bigger role in housing and increase our role in social housing and increase our role in influencing the supply of affordable housing? 

“This Thursday in council, we will hopefully approve the final version of the 2021–2041 Long Term Plan Consultation Document, followed by consultation with our communities.”  

Cr McCann will attend the Waikanae Community Market 8am-noon on 10 April, Paraparaumu Beach Saturday Market 8am-12:30pm 17 April, and in Ōtaki outside the Library 10am-noon Saturday 24 April.  

“Unfortunately, the Paekākāriki pop-up consultation conflicts, so I’ll work with the community board or ward councillor Sophie Handford to find an opportunity to meet and hear your views,” he says.