13 Oct 2016

New homes could be hit by financial constraints - HNZ

5:31 pm on 13 October 2016

Housing New Zealand warned the government earlier this year it was facing financial constraints that would affect its ability to build more houses.

State houses in Northcote

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Bill English, the minister responsible for the agency, said this week that once Auckland's Unitary Plan was in place, the government could build more than 30,000 new homes in the city.

In papers released to Labour under the Official Information Act, Housing NZ chair Adrienne Young-Cooper told Mr English a variety of factors were placing pressure on the agency's balance sheet.

She said it would be facing increasing and significant financial constraints, affecting both its operational performance and its capacity to deliver growing housing supply.

Labour Party housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said the government was driving Housing New Zealand into the ground.

But Mr English said the government would fund the agency as necessary, as it ramped up its building programme.

"This is an organisation with $20 billion in assets and $3 or $4 billion of liabilities, so there is no way it's going broke.

"As Housing New Zealand moves from building 300 new houses a year to building 2000, it will probably need more support from government to do that."

Mr English said there was no question about the viability of the agency.

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