Council proposes partnership with central government on new social housing site

20 September 2018

A partnership with central government could result in Wellington City Council leasing 104 new social housing units to Housing New Zealand (HNZ).

Te Māra Poupou

Site 2 of the former Arlington Apartments in Mount Cook was re-named Te Māra at a dawn blessing on Monday. The units are a mix of one, two, three and four bedrooms, and include a community room on the site.

Te Māra offers 160 bedrooms and the potential to house up to 320 people, says Wellington Mayor Justin Lester.

“There is wide community support for the Council to partner with central government to tackle the shortage of housing in Wellington, and to make sure our most vulnerable people have a place to call home.”

A partnership with HNZ will mean tenants will be eligible for the Government’s Income-Related Rent Subsidies, which doesn’t extend to Council housing tenants, he says.

Councillor Brian Dawson, who holds the Housing Portfolio, says the Council is proud of the modern Te Māra complex, but Council doesn’t necessarily have to run it.

“This is about growing social housing in Wellington in general, regardless of who the landlord is.”

Te Māra is one of three former Arlington Apartments sites which together make up the Council’s largest social housing location. The Council is considering how it will redevelop the remainder of the sites to provide more social and affordable housing for the city.

HNZ has asked the Council to enter into a short-term lease of the new apartments at Te Māra. HNZ would operate the site and let the units to people who are eligible for social housing.

 

“Housing New Zealand’s developments in Wellington, and across the country, are delivering the extra state houses an increasing number of people need,” says Jonathan Scholes, HNZ acting General Manager, Asset Development.

“Arlington offers an opportunity for us to build on the work we’re doing to provide more warm, dry and safe homes for people in need." 

 

The lease agreement would reduce operating costs for the Council while the site is managed by HNZ, and the Council would reinvest all the rental income into its social housing stock – to the benefit of its tenants. Councillors will decide on Wednesday 26 September whether to enter into formal negotiations with HNZ for the short-term lease of Te Māra.