Otago Daily Times

Profession­al workers among the property disenfranc­hised

- JARED MORGAN jared.morgan@odt.co.nz

CENTRAL Otago’s overheated housing market is leaving profession­als such as police, teachers, and nurses shut out of rentals, and blocked from getting on the property ladder.

That was the message delivered to Central Otago district councillor­s at a full meeting in Alexandra on Wednesday.

A report was tabled examining the council’s role in providing affordable housing, provoking robust discussion among councillor­s around the word ‘‘providing’’.

The report by council chief adviser Saskia Righarts said there had been an overall 0.49% increase in house prices in Central Otago to the year ended September to an average sale price of $560,116, including the lockdown period, but more recent data showed an increase to $605,000 — an increase of 14.2% over the past year.

Average rents had increased 1.24% to $407 per week for the year ending September, including the period of Government­introduced rental freezes as a result of Covid19 and banks offering mortgage holidays but more recent data showed a jump of 9% to $490 per week, Ms Righarts said.

Queenstown Lakes Affordable Community Housing Trust executive officer Julie Scott was a guest speaker and said the trust had helped people — key workers — like teachers, police, and nurses into housing.

In 14 years, the trust had helped 177 households into accommodat­ion across developmen­ts in the Queenstown Lakes district and had amassed $27 million in net assets.

The assistedow­nership example used was the trust’s ‘‘secure home’’ programme.

The cost to the council amounted to $1.7 million in land and cash over the past 14 years, $24.4 million came from developers under inclusiona­ry zoning (where developers set aside part of a developmen­t for affordable housing), and $4.8 million in Crown grants.

Her report swayed many, but not all councillor­s, in favour of adopting a similar scheme.

Cr Stephen Jeffery said before hearing the report he would have been opposed.

Cr Tamah Alley was most supportive of a similar scheme because ‘‘you want general people to continue living here and not streets full of holiday homes that only the rich can afford’’.

She also pointed out the low cost of the Queenstown Lakes scheme to its council and therefore ratepayers.

Councillor­s Cheryl Laws and Nigel McKinlay took issue with the word ‘‘provide’’.

Cr McKinlay went further and said the 177 households assisted by the Queenstown model did ‘‘not really cut it’’ for him.

Cr Martin McPherson agreed the council had a role and suggested substituti­ng the word ‘‘provide’’ with the term ‘‘facilitate’’.

Cr Stu Duncan said any programme had to be implemente­d across the district and some of his constituen­ts in Ranfurly were in the lower socioecono­mic group a scheme could provide for.

Mayor Tim Cadogan said any central government moves to take the heat out of housing were unlikely to filter to Central Otago.

The council agreed in principle it had a role in affordable housing (including discussion­s with the Central Otago Housing Trust) based on the Queenstown Lakes Affordable Community Housing Trust model.

It further agreed to staff investigat­ing inclusiona­ry zoning as part of the work programme for the district plan.

Cr McKinlay opposed.

 ??  ?? Julie Scott
Julie Scott

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