Gwynn Compton announces plan to tackle Kāpitis ‘housing crisis’

Kāpiti Coast mayoral candidate Gwynn Compton has announced a plan to deliver real action to tackle Kāpiti’s housing crisis by addressing the district’s worsening housing and rental affordability situation as well as the district’s social housing shortage.

“When housing and rental affordability in Kāpiti are worsening faster than the New Zealand average, social housing waiting lists have doubled, emergency housing grants are skyrocketing, and building consents are falling, the lack of action to address Kāpiti’s housing crisis by Kāpiti Coast District Council is inexcusable,” says Mr Compton.

With the opening of Transmission Gully set to put even more pressure on Kāpiti’s housing stock, the Compton plan for tackling the housing crisis is built around the recommendations of the Kāpiti Coast Communities Housing Taskforce, which use proven approaches to increase the supply of affordable and social housing.

“Access to a roof over your family’s heads is one of the most fundamental things we can do to ensure we have a safe, healthy, and prosperous society. The recommendations of the Kāpiti Coast Communities Housing Taskforce have sat gathering dust at Council for nearly two years, wasting precious time that should have been spent implementing those ideas to get us ready for the rapid increase in population that will come when Transmission Gully opens. We can’t afford to waste any more time.” says Mr Compton.

At the core of the Kāpiti Housing Communities Housing Taskforce recommendations are better ways to use the resources and regulations Kāpiti has to increase the supply of affordable and social housing without incurring a significant cost to Council.

“Council can’t afford and shouldn’t be trying to play the role of a developer, but the Kāpiti Coast Communities Housing Taskforce identifies policies that are working in other areas, such as Queenstown and Hobsonville, to get their housing affordability issues under control without requiring significant outlay from the Council.

“Recommendations such as requiring larger developments to have a certain number of properties either built as affordable homes, or land set aside for a community housing trust, are based off a similar model in Queenstown that is set to make a significant dent in alleviating their housing shortage.”

Mr Compton’s plan also includes his earlier announced policy of a moratorium on any further sales of council-owned houses until strategies on affordable and social housing are developed.

“Despite Mayor K Gurunathan’s claims to the contrary, local authorities can, and do play a vital role in providing social housing in New Zealand. Many of our neighbouring Council’s already provide social housing, and Kāpiti is very much an exception to the rule in only providing older-person housing.

“It’s clear that with Kāpiti’s social housing waitlist having doubled in the past two years, but the government planning to only acquire enough houses to not even meet half of that, there’s a massive gap that needs to be addressed by Council, central government, iwi, and community housing providers,” says Mr Compton.

“Getting Kāpiti’s worsening housing and rental affordability under control and ending the social housing shortage won’t be achieved overnight. But if we’re to ensure Kāpiti remains a place where everyone can afford to live, and not just the few, then we need to act now to turn the tide.

“With many people in Kāpiti dependent on fixed or lower than average incomes to put a roof over their heads, they can’t afford anymore wasted time in responding to this crisis.”

Gwynn Compton’s plan to tackle Kāpiti’s housing crisis:

  • No more sales of Council-owned houses until comprehensive social housing and housing affordability strategies for Kāpiti are developed in partnership with community housing providers, iwi, and central government.

  • Review and implement the recommendations of the Kāpiti Coast Communities Housing Taskforce as soon as is practically possible.

  • Work with central government, iwi, developers, and community housing providers to identify and develop excess Council and government land where appropriate to provide more affordable and social housing.

  • Set the target with central government that Kāpiti’s housing and rental affordability be brought back in line with the national average by 2025, and for house prices and rents to be more affordable in Kāpiti than the national average by 2030.