News | 20 October 2016

Mayor to establish Housing Task Force

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester has announced the establishment of a Mayoral Task Force on housing to tackle the escalating issue of housing affordability in the Capital.

“Wellington is thriving, with a healthy economy and growing population,” Mayor Lester says.

“Planning for that sustained growth and ensuring it is inclusive of all sectors of the community is vital to retain our status as a world-class liveable city.

“This is one lesson we can learn from Auckland’s experience.

“I will be inviting key representatives from across the housing sector to join me on the taskforce. I will also be hosting a forum before Christmas to ensure broad consensus on the key issues to be tackled.”

Deputy Mayor-elect Paul Eagle will chair the task force and lead the new Housing Portfolio, bringing together all aspects of housing into one area.

He will be supported by John McGrath, who will turn his focus from being Chief of Staff in the Mayor’s Office to bring more than a decade of local Government leadership and management experience to the role.

The task force will examine a broad range of issues including homelessness, social housing, the future of Council’s housing stock, housing affordability schemes for first home buyers, the rental market and housing density.

“It is vital that Wellington gets housing right. We want Wellington to be a place that continues to have a social conscience and somewhere all people can live well,” Cr Eagle says.

“We will work in close collaboration and partnership with the community, government and private sectors to find new ways and set clear targets to increase the supply of affordable housing in Wellington.”

With John’s focus now on supporting the Task Force, a new role of Chief Advisor in the Mayor’s Office will be filled by journalist and Wellingtonian Joseph Romanos. Most recently Mr Romanos has been the editor of The Wellingtonian and Kapi-Mana News. Previously he was chief reporter of The Dominion Post’s Metro team.

“Joseph will bring management expertise, a fresh perspective and great Wellington connections from his time in the media to ensure we can move quickly to deliver on the projects I campaigned on,” Mayor Lester said.