Wellington Scoop

Council house stays empty, while homeless sleep on the street


A showcase Wellington City Council house in Newtown has remained empty since April last year, while people sleep in the street a few blocks away.

Known as the Eco House, the three bedroom house on Regent Street was opened in 1995 to showcase energy-efficient design and low-allergy materials.

Newtown resident Patrick Morgan says he’s disappointed by the Council’s response at a time of extreme housing need.


“It will be a bleak Christmas for rough sleepers on Riddiford Street, while the WCC sits on an empty council house.That’s not acceptable.”

“I’ve made several enquiries to the Council this year but haven’t received any reason for the delays.”

“Will there be a Christmas miracle for homeless people in Wellington? I hope so.”


  1. Cr Brian Dawson, 8. December 2018, 20:15

    The Eco-House has significant issues and is not habitable in its current condition. The future of the property will be decided before the end of this year. Council is very aware of the issues around homelessness in Wellington and is working with several agencies to ensure services are available, including safe, dry housing. Noting also that this house is part of the City Housing portfolio but not suitable for social housing. Council has recently completed more than 100 new social housing units and is working on re-developing the remainder of the Arlington site as well as sites in Mt Cook and Brooklyn which were closed after the 2016 quake. We have also recently announced partnerships which will produce upwards of 500 affordable rent apartments. I think it’s clear Council is well committed to housing and is focused on delivering it in far greater numbers than just one house.

  2. Concerned Wellingtonian, 9. December 2018, 7:06

    Cr Dawson, if the future of the property will be decided before the end of this year, why isn’t it on the Agenda for next week’s Council meeting which is the last one of the year?

  3. Brian Dawson, 9. December 2018, 11:17

    Hi Concerned – it is a public excluded item for commercial reasons.

  4. Concerned Wellingtonian, 9. December 2018, 14:04

    Cr Dawson, is the item described as “4.2 Public Excluded Report of the City Strategy Committee Meeting of 6 December 2018”?
    If so please tell your people that this is an inadequate description from a legal point of view – and please propose an amendment giving an adequate description when/if there is a legally required vote to get rid of members of the public. The public should know that you are proposing to discuss plans for long-empty houses for which you are responsible.

  5. Brian Dawson, 10. December 2018, 6:51

    If you look at last week’s CSC agenda, you will see it was in the Public Excluded section there. This week’s council meeting is receiving the recommendations from that meeting. All legalities accounted for.

  6. Concerned Wellingtonian, 10. December 2018, 10:31

    Why not try to serve the public and mention the subject which you are going to discuss? Why should I have to go through old council papers in order to find out? If the council were upfront, I would have known that the empty council house was going to be discussed, instead of having to guess. You could easily say that you were kicking us out so that you could decide what to do with empty houses, instead of being so obscure. Please think of us Wellingtonians!

  7. Chytana Phillips, 12. December 2018, 15:09

    Would just like to announce that I’m the one, with a dog, who sleeps behind that sheet at night. He’s toilet trained and we need a home. We have now been trespassed thanks to the city council. DCM isn’t helping. And we continue to be moved by the council wherever we go. It’s sad and stressful. We keep the area clean. We had a Christmas tree up and all. Now it’s all taken down, in the trolley, with nowhere to go for a woman and a dog. My partner took off yesterday. So thanks city council, for making life tougher for the homeless when life is tough enough. I didn’t choose to be here. I want a home. That home in the pic looks nice….. If only…

  8. Joise Talofi, 12. December 2018, 15:22

    Sorry to hear your situation CP . I believe, as the ex CE did when she left the DCM, that they have lost their way; they did not help us either.