Housing NZ: We’re open to new project partnerships

Housing NZ is urging more private developers to lead its mixed housing developments.

General manager of assets Sean Bignall told NZPI the organisation has changed its strategy because 60% of its stock is either too old or the wrong size.

The profile of clients has shifted so that either one- or two-bedroom homes are needed, or larger homes, rather than standard three-bedroom properties. 

“These challenges have snuck up on us a bit. We’re at a pressure point where we’re trying to get ahead. We need to build up capacity, free up other stock and rotate through.”

The organisation will announce a high-density project in Auckland in coming months and wants developers to take charge.

Housing NZ has 24 public-private partnerships, involving approximately $45 million worth of developments, to be completed in the next two to three years.

“We’re open for business. It’s a new model and we invite people to bring new ideas and models and innovative thinking,” Mr Bignall says.

New strategy

The shift toward public private partnerships is part of a new strategy from Housing NZ.

“We want the private sector involved in many of these so we’ve got the understanding and market expertise,” he says.

Saltburn director James Klein has just won the contract for a mixed-use development in the south Auckland suburb of Onehunga.

On the Maria St site he will build 26 units of different sizes in a public-private partnership.

He is still in the preliminary resource consent stages but hopes this will be the first of many such partnerships.

“It does depend on how this first one goes. We have been disappointed with the public backlash.”

Mr Klein says there has been some resistance from neighbouring residents on heritage sites.

Controversial developments

City Living director Graeme Cromie is also creating a mixed-used development at Pomare in Porirua.

It has met some controversy as Housing NZ tenants on infamous Farmer Crescent (Housing NZ moved on tenants with gang connections) were relocated.

Unlike the Auckland developments, homes at Pomare will be low-density standalone units, replacing the 88 Housing NZ units that have been demolished.

Mr Cromie hopes to start developing infrastructure for the site soon and begin building in early 2014.

When the Pomare site is completed, Housing NZ will buy 20% of the stock, another 20% will be affordable housing, while the rest will be taken up by conventional private ownership, Mr Cromie says.

The developer says he was interested in the site because it was simply “land crying out to be redeveloped” and he hopes the public-private model will become popular. 

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4 Comments & Questions

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If I sign up my house for HNZ to rent out for any given contract period, who pays to remediate any damage caused by P cooks?

I've heard horror stories on this where the owners were left thousands out of pocket,so would dearly love to read what HNZ has to say on this publicly please HNZ?

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I believe HNZ pay for all but fair wear and tear.

However, given the quality of their tenants, their view of 'fair wear and tear' is different to the average NZer.

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With the endless RMA bureaucracy developers already have to put up with, it will be interesting to see how many are interested in actually partnering with bureaucrats.

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Who on earth would knowingly buy into an area stacked with HNZ properties. I guess you wouldn't need a TV, just open the curtains each night and let the show begin.

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