visionary thinking

Affordable Housing No 2 State Housing: Level of Service

Rather than constantly stating we need more houses to accommodate those who cannot afford a home, live on the street or despite everyone in the household working still cannot make ends meet sufficiently to afford a home, we should be looking at this issue from an alternate perspective.

A perspective where we all could understand and easily measure the performance of our politicians responsible for ensuring we have enough affordable housing.

This alternative way to look at the provision of housing is to decide what "Level of Service" we are seeking from the State housing sector. A part of determining that "Level of Service" should include supply.

Therefore the place to start is with how many houses do we need to meet an acceptable level of supply?

Back in 1991 when all State Housing was controlled by Housing New Zealand, I had a very small part in the refurbishment of the State Housing stock bringing them up to 1991 standards when the new Building Act came in to force.

Back then there were 75,000 State Houses which while not perfect generally provided homes for all the identified housing needs. Our national population in 1991 was 3,446,171.

This equates to 1 State Home per 46 New Zealanders.

Now if we chose the ration of 1 for every 46 New Zealander to meet the same level of supply as part of achieving a defined "Level of Service" then to service New Zealand's current 2020 population of 4,822,323 we should have a supply of 104,834 State Houses.

A quick visit to the Housing New Zealand or as it is now known Kainga Ora website and view their July 2020 Investor Update, they state, they own or manage 66,000 properties.

That gives us a shortfall of 38,834 State Homes as of July 2020 when compared to the 1991 level of supply at a ratio of 1 State Home per 73 New Zealanders.