Govt plans hundreds more homes for Lower Hutt

2:40 pm on 4 July 2017

The government has today unveiled plans to build an extra 330 new homes in Lower Hutt, and bring hundreds more up to warm, dry standards.

The Seddon Street site set to be turned into social housing in Naenae.

The Seddon Street site set to be turned into social housing in Naenae. Photo: RNZ / Adriana Weber

Social Housing Minister Amy Adams made the announcement on a vacant lot of Housing New Zealand land on Seddon Street in Naenae, one of four sites in Lower Hutt where work will start immediately to build a total of 30 state homes at a cost of $9.5 million.

Another 300 homes - with half being social or affordable housing - would be built in the suburbs of Epuni, Naenae and Waiwhetū.

That project was still in the planning stages and yet to be costed, she said.

Ms Adams said a further $68 million would also be spent refurbishing 383 existing homes over the next three to five years.

Social Housing Minister Amy Adams poses for photographs at the Seddon Street site in Naenae.

Social Housing Minister Amy Adams poses for photographs at the Seddon Street site in Naenae. Photo: RNZ / Adriana Weber

"Hutt Valley was one area that stood out to me as one of the highest priority in terms of what we want to do with the [housing] stock," she said.

"Housing New Zealand has 3800 social houses in the Hutt Valley, many are the wrong size and some are in need of refurbishment, so our plan is build more houses and bring hundreds of others up to modern standards."

Ms Adams said half the new houses created would be either social or affordable homes, while the rest would be market-price homes.

Community welcomes move, but is it far enough?

The Seddon Street site set to be turned into social housing in Naenae.

Photo: RNZ / Adriana Weber

St David's Church in Naenae has been pushing for more accommodation for those in need in the suburb for years.

In April, it organised a protest at the same site Amy Adams made her announcement today.

Dozens of people camped out on the block of land over a weekend in a bid to get the government to tackle the city's housing crisis.

Reverend Martin Robinson was at the announcement, and said he was pleased the ball was finally rolling.

"We've heard of have folks living in garages, living behind hedges, under bridges and just couch-surfing, so certainly the one-bedroom places will meet a extremely high demand there, and it's great to hear there's bigger dwellings further down the line too."

But Rev Robinson said he remained worried about those in need of urgent accommodation, given it would take at least until next year before tenants could move into the first of the 30 homes.

"We need new buildings, we need the refurbished ones but also you need emergency accommodation too, which I know they're [the government] aware of.

"I'm just glad that they have listened to people and clearly they're responding, which is good. We just need more of it and possibly a bit sooner."

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