30 April 2015
The transfer of 2800 state houses to the joint Auckland Council-Government owned special purpose body, the Tamaki Redevelopment Company, will result in the biggest investment in the Tamaki community since the 1950s and presents the opportunity to revitalise the communities of Glen Innes, Panmure and Pt England, says Stephen Selwood of the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development.
Decades of underinvestment by successive Governments managing state housing through a single national provider has failed to deliver safe, warm and healthy housing, let alone a vibrant local economy, secure neighbourhoods and a bright future for residents.
The transfer of assets to the Tamaki Redevelopment Company (TRC) together with access to a $200 million loan initiates a process to achieve each of these outcomes.
As an independent redevelopment company, TRC will be less fettered by public policy processes and departmental silos which slow down decision making and impede engagement with communities, investors and the development sector.
TRC will be able to get things done.
And it will be able to do this more efficiently than in the past. In owning all the stock and having capital at the ready, the Company will be able to implement a master plan for Tamaki, aggregate public and, where possible, private properties, redevelop at scale and maximise land value in what is a very desirable part of the city.
Even using conservative estimates of 7500 new properties in Tamaki over the next 20 years, the Company will be able to sell or lease two new houses for every new social house it develops, thereby significantly increasing housing supply and retaining the same number or more homes for people in need.
Thats not just good news for tenants and home buyers, who will be the direct beneficiaries of new housing, but also for the taxpayer, as less public money will be required to deliver new warm, dry homes.
But it remains unclear how the Government will deliver on all of its objectives through this policy.
If community revitalisation is to be front and centre of this initiative, which everybody agrees it should, there must be a pathway and provision of funding to support social housing tenants to transition from dependence to independence.
How will the Government integrate its policies, programmes and funding to achieve this?
In order to maximise the value of land, reduce risk and attract private capital to the area, the Government must provide confidence that the neighbourhoods of Tamaki will be attractive places to both live and invest in.
That requires strong commitment up front, in the terms of reference for the redevelopment, and accountability and funding to deliver on those objectives.
The transfer of responsibility to TRC is a good first step. What is now required is for TRC to proactively engage with investors, lenders, developers and social support service providers in a clear and transparent manner and seek innovative and integrated proposals for the redevelopment of Tamaki.
"A public private partnership focussed on delivering community uplift, and integrating private capital, innovation and expertise with social support services provided by community housing organisations and/or commercial providers, would be a logical solution.
"That is the strategy employed by Government in the Wiri prison PPP which targets reduced recidivism rather than just building another jail.
The business case process now underway must take a broad social and economic approach which values wrap around service provision, including the impact of good social support on land values and community wellbeing.
If the Government, council and Tamaki Redevelopment Company work together with the community and in partnership with the private and third sector to deliver a great place to live, the value of land and the potential of the community can both be fully realised," Selwood says.