The Eye of the Fish

June 8, 2018

Ministry of Housing

One of the sad and weird things happening in New Zild under the previous National government, was a complete denial of any form of “housing crisis”, when fairly clearly things were getting completely out of control. Their governmental response was “hands-off” to the point of idiocy – they didn’t even have a Minister of Housing. Nada. Zilch. Nothing. No Minister, no housing, no crisis, no problem! Sell more milk products instead!
Thankfully those idiots have gone and we have in place a government who at least acknowledge that there is an issue – a serious issue, some may call it a crisis – and plan to do something about it. Plans being announced today are for a new Ministry of Housing and Urban Development to be created, (MoHaUD ? MHAUD? MAUDE?), which will take parts of other places like the Treasury. Stuff reports that:

“It would encompass the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) housing and urban policy functions, its KiwiBuild unit and the Community Housing Regulatory Authority, Treasury’s monitoring of Housing New Zealand and the Tāmaki Redevelopment Company.
The Ministry of Social Development would keep its function assessing and managing people’s need for public housing; however, its policy for emergency, transitional and public housing would become part of the new ministry.”

So, MBIE, that itself sprang out of (or overtook) the DBH (Department of Building and Housing), which itself was in response to the BIA (Building Industry Authority), is to be divested of the Housing aspect, but presumably still retains the Building part. That’s a shame really – seems more logical to have one minister in charge of both Building and Housing, as they are indeed part of each other, and to be blunt, the current Minister of Construction is badly lacking in experience or knowledge of the subject. Missing from this conglomeration is, however, the actual full entity of Housing New Zealand Corporation, which is also rather odd. Surely if you have a Ministry of Housing, it should have oversight and control over Housing NZ Corp?
Fairly predictably, the spiteful little troll Collins has come straight out and said that National will undo it as soon as it gets re-elected, but that is not looking likely to happen for at least a term, so Phil Twyford has 2 years to make it work. It is due to come into being on October 1st.
The Eye of the Fish thinks that the new Ministry is a good idea, as long as it is given a decent chance and staffed with people who know what to do. The big question will be: who to appoint as the CEO or Head Honcho to get things moving. I’ve got a few people in mind that would be good to have on that list. Let’s hope that Phil Twyford has them on speed-dial as well.

Post script: Couldn’t find it at the time, but now have got it – the full list of who is on the Housing Advisory Panel. Surprise surprise, I’m not mentioned. Is your name there? The full list is:
Housing and Urban Development Ministerial Advisory Group

The Group has 10 members. They reflect diverse perspectives and experience in a range of areas across the housing and urban development sector.

Their role is to work with the Minister for Housing and Urban Development and his officials to help inform policy development and communicate with, and update stakeholders on a range of urban and housing issues.

Members are:

Chair Teena Hale Pennington who has extensive experience working with infrastructure development and in environmental and organisational management. She is Chief Executive Officer of the NZ Institute of Architects and Deputy Chair of the Construction Industry Council.

Shamubeel Eaqub – economist, commentator, academic.

Rau Hoskins – Māori housing, architecture, design and housing researcher.

Philippa Howden-Chapman – academic investigating health, housing, energy, climate change and sustainable cities.

David Kelly – Chief Executive Officer of Registered Master Builders

Andrew King – Executive Officer of the NZ Property Investors’ Federation.

Roine Lealaiauloto – Pacific peoples focus and Chief Executive of Penina Health Trust.

Angela Maynard – tenancy support coordinator of the Auckland Tenants Protection Association.

Mark Todd – property developer and co-founder and Managing Director of Ockham Residential and the Ockham Foundation.

Scott Figenshow – Chief Executive Community Housing Aotearoa

Their terms of reference are here.

8 - 06 - 18

This comes at the same time as the revelations of the exploitation of methamphetamine hysteria by HNZ to evict exactly the kind of people that state housing was created for. If not this overarching entity, then who will call them to account?

9 - 06 - 18

Personally I’d quite like the two functions to be kept separate – that the people who run and give housing and evict housers – are in a different place than the people who design, build, construct and maintain the houses. I want this Ministry of Housing to really be about the actual factual hammers and nails of getting things done, and for them to concentrate on that, and not get side-tracked into “who’s been a good person then?”. But then who is going to do the other part?

9 - 06 - 18

Fair enough, but some kind of connection between the realities of 21st century social housing needs and the design and build end would be good. And bring back pepper-potting – if only to watch David Seymour squirm and jump. Oh, wait…

9 - 06 - 18

That’s one of the good things about apartment buildings – all shapes and sizes and cost brackets can co-exist in the same address, as long as you don’t go down the shitty “all student flats” routine (where everyone is assumed to be poor and only 20-30m2 rabbit hutches are provided) or the “i’m posher than you” routine we see so often in that hated northern city (no such thing as an affordable anything, let alone a mix of apartments).

If you design it right, with a mix of sizes of apartments, and everyone gets the same level of service (none of that New York “poor people’s entrance” and separate “executive penthouse suite entrance”), then it works fine!

12 - 06 - 18

“That’s one of the good things about apartment buildings – all shapes and sizes and cost brackets can co-exist in the same address…”

…do you mean like this:
“There are no affordable flats included in the tower, which was designed by Richard Seiffert. The cheapest 70-sq-metre, one-bed flat in the 82-apartment tower is on the market for just over £1.8m.

Instead, the developer built 13 affordable socially rented flats in a separate low-rise tower, which has already been dubbed Centre Point’s “poor house” in reference to the 2014 scandal, which revealed that residents of affordable units in several luxury developments were forced to use different entrances to the wealthy private residents.

Under planning rules the development should have included 41 affordable flats, but the developer instead handed Camden Council £6m towards the creation of a new square behind the tower and public transport improvements.”

12 - 06 - 18

m-d As Yoda would say, there is no “try”, there is only “do”, or “do not”.

Developers CAN make affordable flats – but most developers do not succeed because they DO NOT even try, or perhaps, try very hard not to do. Regardless of this, I would absolutely LOVE to live in the lowrise part of Centrepoint, far more so than the high rise. Fuck the rich and their up themselves attitude, high up their ivory / white concrete tower. There’s way more interesting life down on the streets….

15 - 06 - 18

This item had slipped by me:

“Head of KiwiBuild appointed – 10 May 2018

“Stephen Barclay has been appointed as the Head of KiwiBuild, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Chief Executive Carolyn Tremain announced today.

“Mr Barclay is currently Chief People and Transformation Officer at the Ministry of Health, and prior to that he was Chief Executive of the San Francisco America’s Cup Events Authority. His career spans construction, consulting, event management and government. His roles have generally involved implementing change in large listed or high-profile organisations in New Zealand and overseas.

“I’m delighted to welcome Stephen. He is highly experienced, having led large teams and delivered on high profile projects across a range of different sectors.

“The Head of KiwiBuild is a significant appointment, with responsibility for leading the Government’s ambitious programme of work to deliver 100,000 high quality, affordable homes over the next decade. I have full confidence that Stephen will be a highly capable and effective leader for the KiwiBuild Unit and its stakeholders,” says Carolyn.

Mr Barclay will start in the role on Monday 28 May.

The KiwiBuild Unit was set up within the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment in December 2017 to start delivering on the KiwiBuild programme while work is underway to establish the Housing Commission, which will eventually take over as the agency responsible for KiwiBuild.

Last month the Government announced the first KiwiBuild homes under construction at the McLennan development in Auckland and earlier this week MBIE released tender documents for the KiwiBuild: Buying off the Plans procurement approach.

The KiwiBuild work programme includes four key areas: undertaking major urban redevelopment projects, purchasing or underwriting new affordable homes off the plans, purchasing and converting existing Crown land and purchasing additional land from the private market, and procuring KiwiBuild dwellings through existing Government-led housing initiatives (such as the McLennan development).”