New focus on Kapiti Housing Crisis

Kāpiti Cr Rob McCann

“New Zealand and the Kāpiti Coast are in the grip of a housing crisis that is only getting worse,” says KCDC Councillor and Housing Portfolio holder Rob McCann. 

Cr McCann says he, the Mayor, and staff recently met with Kāinga Ora, formally known as Housing New Zealand to discuss the issues facing our region. In December 2020 there were only 219 homes in all of Kāpiti, and in the previous twelve months, there had been only 16 tenants move out. Four tenants had died, one moved to the private sector, three moved of their own volition, four because of redevelopment and the rest for a variety of other reasons. Only eleven families began a tenancy with Kāinga Ora in Kāpiti in 2020. 

“The private sector housing numbers are staggering, with the demand for rentals and affordable homes through the roof, and far outstripping supply, while the average house price in Kāpiti is now $711,465, up from $541,000 in 2017. 

“Given the seriousness of the situation, it’s important that as a council we continue to inform the public on the progress we are making in what is a really complex situation.  Council staff have updated the website to provide more information on the actions we are taking within the housing continuum,” says Cr McCann. 

“The housing continuum helps us better understand the challenges we face and the range of housing types required to meet the needs of different people at different times. It illustrates the pathway from homelessness and emergency accommodation through assisted rental or ownership, to private renting and ownership options in the property market. 

“As we respond to the housing crisis, it’s important we recognise that council is only one player, but we are preparing to have a more active role as outlined in the 14 recommendations from The Property Group (TPG) Assessment Report. This report also responded to the Kāpiti Coast Communities Housing Taskforce Report. You can read both reports on the website. 

“Currently within council chambers, staff and councilors are discussing what funding is required to support the housing programme, having earlier agreed to increase the council’s role. When that funding question has been resolved, the new and increased role council can play to promote the development of social and affordable homes in Kāpiti will be consulted upon within the Long Term Plan. 

Some of the key issues the housing programme needs to address are: 

  • Investigate ways to increase the supply of public housing 
  • Improve the quality of existing public housing 
  • Encourage take up of existing development capacity 
  • Improve the availability of emergency and transitional housing 

Cr McCann says he is excited that staff will soon be appointing someone to lead the housing programme, and alongside iwi getting a Housing and Social Needs Assessment underway.

“The assessment is a large and complex piece of work that will help KCDC identify an accurate picture of current and emerging housing and social needs. It will provide robust evidence to support future funding and development discussions with government and non-government organisations.  In the meantime, council staff continue to implement recommendations from the Housing Report,” says Councillor McCann. 

The information on the website can be found here and Councillor McCann is available to meet with members of the pubic that have an interest in housing issues.