The Social Housing Reform (Transactions Mandate) Bill passed into law on Thursday, enabling the Government to direct Housing NZ Ltd on how to dispose of specific properties.
Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett said: “This bill will help enable the reforms that are needed to ensure more people who need housing support can access it, alongside social services that meet other needs. We are making changes to ensure the social housing system is aspirational, not generational.”
Previously, the Government could direct Housing NZ, as a Crown entity, to implement a Government policy, but couldn’t direct it to implement policy in a specific way.
Mrs Bennett said the Government was committed to transferring between 1-2000 properties to registered community housing providers this year: “This bill ensures the Government can be clear & transparent in transferring Housing NZ properties to the community sector. Combined with the guaranteed income stream through the income-related rent subsidy, transferring properties gives them capital and an asset that they can use to further grow.
“Fundamentally, this is about improving the lives of some of our most vulnerable New Zealanders by increasing the supply of social housing available for those with pressing needs.”
Ministerial authority can only be used under this act to transfer properties to meet the objectives of the social housing reform programme, which the Prime Minister announced in January.
The act clarifies that the current offer-back provisions in the Public Works Act have never applied to land held by Housing NZ. An unrelated provision included in this act confirms that the Crown’s authority to administer Crown land is held under the Housing Act 1955.
Mrs Bennett said the new act didn’t change the first right of refusal rights that iwi might have over some Housing NZ properties.
Attribution: Ministerial release.