PHOTO: Wellington City Council. RESELLER NEWS

The Wellington City Council has unveiled a new initiative aimed at addressing issues of homelessness, unaffordable housing, and renters’ rights. However, the plan lacks specific funding and timelines.

Property market

New Wellington subdivisions website launches – with no stock?

According to RNZ Councillor Tamatha Paul, chair of the council’s Kōrau Tūāpapa Environment and Infrastructure Committee, expressed concern about the unacceptable state and cost of housing in Wellington. She acknowledged that the city is notorious for its challenging rental market, citing the poor quality of homes available for residents.

Paul emphasized the council’s goal of ensuring that all Wellingtonians have access to safe, warm, and dry housing. However, she also noted that the action plan appears to be more of a well-intentioned wishlist than a concrete strategy.

Lyall Bay, Wellington

Big Wellington land deals

As part of the plan, the council intends to pilot a rental inspection service that would enable tenants to obtain an official assessment of their accommodation’s quality. This service would be developed in collaboration with the central government, with a focus on upholding and enforcing the Healthy Homes Standards. The council also aims to gather more information about landlords and rental housing standards in the city, intending to provide tenants with the means to hold their landlords accountable. Additionally, the council expressed interest in publicly identifying and denouncing the worst landlords.

Regarding the rental inspection service, the specific staffing arrangements have yet to be determined. The council may either employ a dedicated team or collaborate with an existing tenancy inspection service to carry out the inspections and ensure compliance.

Amanda Stevens

Amanda and Ben Stevens’ trailblazing approach to real estate in Wellington | WATCH

Under the new plan, the council will revive its strategy to end homelessness in the city. The previous strategy, Te Mahana, expired in 2020. Paul expressed disappointment at the lack of a current plan, especially considering the increase in rough sleepers in Wellington. She also voiced frustration over the council’s modest expenditure of $3.3 million over the past decade to address homelessness, emphasizing the higher social cost of neglecting this issue.

Although Paul did not provide a specific funding estimate to end homelessness, she stressed the ongoing need for additional support and funding for organizations like Wellington City Mission and DCM.

St Gerard’s Church

Wellington’s St Gerard’s Monastery sold after three weeks on the market

To tackle affordable housing for students, the council aims to establish a discussion forum with universities and polytechnics to better understand the housing requirements of young people. The existing university accommodations in the city are expensive and often come with unaffordable pastoral services. Paul highlighted the importance of providing students with warm, safe homes that are easily accessible to their educational institutions and workplaces. The council is exploring the possibility of converting old office buildings into apartment accommodations for students, but the financial implications and funding sources for these renovations remain unclear.

The Wellington City Council’s action plan for housing encompasses various other areas, including planning for growth, improving the consenting process, addressing mana whenua and Māori housing, social and public housing, affordable housing, and private rental housing.