Wellington Scoop

Political parties (but not National) to discuss housing crisis on Thursday

News from PrefabNZ
Political parties have been invited to present solutions to the housing crisis at a pre-election panel event in Wellington next week.

Just what is the cost of poor quality, inadequate housing to New Zealand? It’s a crisis of epidemic proportion, with the shortage of affordable, secure housing and sustainable future-proof cities causing concern across the country.

It’s manifesting in social ills including homelessness, poverty, despair, health problems, high government spending on temporary accommodation that WINZ beneficiaries need to repay, lack of community connection, kids failing at school and a generation locked out of owning or even living in a decent home.

Calling political parties to address the issues head on with proactive policies and plans of action, PrefabNZ, the New Zealand Green Building Council and Community Housing Aotearoa are co-hosting a free pre-election Housing Crisis panel.

The panel will feature politicians including Denis O’Rourke, NZ First; Geoff Simmons, the Opportunities Party; Julie Anne Genter, the Green Party; Marama Fox, Maori Party; and Phil Twyford, Labour Party. There is not a representative for the National Party participating in the panel.

Guy Marriage, Senior Lecturer at Victoria University will chair the panel, with housing issue expert Garry Moore making a brief opening statement. Economist Shamubeel Equab will put forward challenging questions to the politicians.

Victoria University’s Head of the School of Architecture, Dr Morten Gjerde says, “There is plenty of good will around solving the current New Zealand housing crisis, but we’re lacking initiative.”

PrefabNZ’s CEO Pamela Bell says active leadership is necessary to address the country’s housing shortage. “Using technology, innovation and Kiwi smarts is a no-brainer. “We are seeking policies that encourage the uptake of more efficient and innovative building methods, materials and modes of production to meet a problem that is being exacerbated by a growing and ageing population. “This is about quantity, quality and quickly. Traditional build methods can’t achieve that.”

While the base problem is that volumes of new homes are required, says Andrew Eagles, NZ Green Building Council CEO, quality is essential. Shockingly, “The NZ building code is below the standards required in most International Energy Agency (IEA) countries with comparable climates,” he points out. “Government should modernise the Building Code. If better standards aren’t introduced, the homes we are building now will need to be retrofitted very soon.”

“We need to see a set of policies that see all New Zealanders well housed,” says Community Housing Aotearoa CE Scott Figenshow. “That’s why we’re all working together – we want to see housing policy move this way for the well-being of New Zealanders.”

The event is free to attend. To book or for more details, visit http://www.prefabnz.com/Events/housingpanel17.

Join us at PrefabNZ Housing Crisis Panel Wellington Free Event.

Thursday 7 September, 6pm – 8pm at Lecture Theater One, Faculty of Architecture and Design, Victoria University of Wellington.