Starts Here

While there are large New Zealand-wide projects which should be funded (eg revitalisation of national and regional rail) it is essential that the lion’s share of the post-pandemic spending be invested in local “public-good” projects across the country.

An open letter has been sent to the
Prime Minister Ardern seeking just that.

Download the letter here

 Co-sign the letter 

Bubble wrap for council tenants -

$15,000 rates rebates for luxury apartments in city centre

The problem
  • There is a huge housing need for tenants and families on low incomes. We have a waiting list of over 1000 in Christchurch for council/state housing.  Canterbury also has the second highest percentage growth in need for council/state housing (48% increase from March 2018 to March 2019 - Press 1 July 2019)
  • Approximately 300 council houses were destroyed in the earthquakes and well over 100 more have been lost since then as the council has closed and demolished units rather than repair/refurbish them. Cecil Courts and the council’s housing complex in Carey Street are the latest – the removal of another 52 units.
  • Council now is working to “transfer” 428 council housing units to the Otautahi Community Housing Trust – out of sight, out of mind. The last thing the current council wants to talk about is its legacy of neglect and indifference to the suffering of families on low incomes.
  • Council housing has been run down over 40 years of neglect and underinvestment with enormous levels of human misery as a result. People have been left to suffer in quiet desperation. Congratulations to the courageous tenants who have spoken out last week about the lack of insulation on their cold, damp units.
  • The council has bowed to pressure and adopted a corporate-inspired policy saying no rates money will be used for council housing BUT tens of millions has been spent on rates rebates for new private housing in the city centre – many of them luxury apartments. Assuming she buys a new apartment, the current mayor will be a beneficiary of this policy when she moves into the city centre next year. (Our OIA request shows $8.5 million in city centre residential rate rebates from 2014 to 2018 – an average rebate of $15,000 per unit)
  • The current council runs a policy of callous indifference and shameful neglect towards council housing while forcing less well off ratepayers to subsidise wealthier ratepayers moving into new apartments in the city centre. So it’s bubble wrap on the windows to keep out the cold for council tenants but $15,000 rates subsidies for luxury apartments in the city centre.
Minto for Mayor Solution
  • Use $220 of the $300 million grant from the government to rebuild and refurbish the council housing portfolio – we would have 1000 additional units to what we have at the present time. This additional supply would reduce rents across the city to the benefit of low and middle income earners.
  • This means no rate increases to pay for the rebuild and upgrade but it does mean spending on the proposed new covered rugby stadium would go to the back of the queue (the current council wants to spend the $220 million on a stadium)
  • End rates rebates for new housing in the city centre.
Under Minto for Mayor every child in Christchurch will have a warm, dry home BEFORE the rugby union gets a new stadium.

Minto For Mayor on the web 
Minto for Mayor on Facebook 

Keep Our Assets~Canterbury  on the web
Keep Our Assets~Canterbury on Facebook

The Minto for Mayor council housing policy launch will be held this Sunday

 25th August
Cecil Courts

Cecil Courts has 20 units which have been progressively closed in recent years because the council refuses to refurbish or upgrade them despite the desperate housing shortage in Christchurch for people and families on low incomes. (Note: Earthquake damage is not the issue here because some of the units were occupied until a couple of years ago)

Another complex of 32 units, which is now also closed, is in Carey Street, Somerfield.

The problem is that the council has a “policy” of refusing to use rates to

maintain council rental housing. This has led to run down council owned units across the city and when they need refurbishment they are simply closed and the number of council housing units available to families in need decreases year by year.

This is a social disgrace under the watch of a council fixated with pouring hundreds of millions of ratepayer money into a multi-purpose rugby stadium.

The council is now well over 400 units (and growing) short of what the city had before the earthquakes.

This shameful situation will be addressed by campaign at the policy launch on Sunday including how the refurbishment/upgrades will be completed without cost to ratepayers.

Media are warmly welcome.

Support the Campaign

Minto For Mayor on the web
Minto for Mayor on Facebook

Keep Our Assets~Canterbury  on the web
Keep Our Assets~Canterbury on Facebook

Speakers List Released

Public meeting to launch campaign to stop government plans to sell 2,500 state houses in Christchurch

download a copy
At a public meeting next week Housing Action Canterbury will launch a city-wide campaign to stop the government selling 2,500 state houses in Christchurch this year.

Selling thousands of state homes in the middle of a housing crisis is social vandalism and utterly unacceptable.

Only the government has the resources and capacity to build the homes needed by low and middle income families when we have 40,000 homeless people across the country.

The meeting will express the widespread and resolute opposition to the policy from Cantabrians.

We have an impressive list of speakers for the meeting which indicates the strength of feeling building in Christchurch.

The speakers include:
Naenae Higgs – state house tenant
Gail Scott – state house tenant
Alan Johnson – Salvation Army
Paul Watson - Regional Secretary First Union
Mike Treen – National Director Unite Union
Lynda Boyd – Secretary Unions Canterbury
Bishop Victoria Mathews – Anglican Church Bishop
Rev Sheena Dickson – Housing Action Canterbury
John Laurenson – Principal Shirley Boys’ High School
Phil Twyford – Labour Party Housing spokesperson
Eugenie Sage – Green Party MP
Gary Gribben – Democrats for Social Credit
Murray Horton – Convenor of Keep Our Assets Canterbury
Grey Power – Ian Brownie
John Sullivan – Community Law Canterbury

Convenor of the State Housing Action Network, John Minto, will chair the meeting.

Christchurch City Council housing failure

a tragedy for low-income families

Six years on from the Christchurch earthquakes the Christchurch City Council is still 357 houses short of what
it had before the earthquakes.
At 1st September 2010, the council had 2649 council homes for rent but only 2292 available for rent as of 11th December 2016, according to figures from an Official Information Act request.
Despite 459 council homes having been demolished after the earthquakes only 61 (sic) new units have been completed since 1 September 2010! (A further 42 units will be demolished this year!)
Providing housing for the most vulnerable families in the wake of the earthquakes should have been the first council priority. It wasn’t.
Low-income families have been struggling with housing costs since then and despite the recent levelling off in private rental housing costs they remain artificially high because of the council’s failure to rebuild its housing stock.
The real devastating failure of the city rebuild is the plight of low-income families left high and dry by the Christchurch City Council.
The council should hang its head in shame.
Had the council prioritised rebuilding affordable housing, private rental costs across the city would be considerably lower than the very high rates being charged today.
All families in the private rental market are losers because of this moral and social failure.
The transfer of the council’s housing stock to the Otautahi Housing Trust, which took place on 1 October last year, will make the situation worse. The Trust does not have the resources or the capacity to build the homes required for tenants and families on low incomes.
The council must be forced to ramp up its building programme for council housing as an urgent priority and to vigorously oppose the government plans to sell 2,500 state houses in Christchurch.
Neither the council nor the government must be allowed to walk away from responsibility for housing families on low incomes.