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Report finds flaws in social housing plan

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 2/03/2017

Despite oversight from three ministers and four government agencies, a report has found there is insufficient leadership and management within the Social Housing Reform Programme.

An independent review into the programme, which includes making 65,000 income-related rent subsidy places available by mid next year, found there was a leadership vacuum.

"As a result, Ministers are not always being well advised on issues critical to overall programme delivery and they are not receiving the assurances that they require to have confidence in overall programme implementation," the December 2015 report for Treasury by Leonie Freeman and Michael Mills found.

The report was released on Wednesday following an OIA request by RNZ and subsequent appeal to the ombudsman.

Ms Freeman and Mr Mills also reported there was too much focus on short-term goals while medium and longer-term milestones were yet to be identified, and a lack of alignment in priorities.

"While government has indicated a focus on increasing the supply of housing in Auckland, the large-scale redevelopment strategy on (Housing New Zealand) land being undertaken by Treasury is currently a lower priority," they said.

But they did find a number of positives, including strong support from all agencies and strong Ministerial interest.

"There has been definite progress made in all aspects of the SHRP in a challenging environment and there are strategies in place across agencies to deliver on outcomes and objectives," they found.

The report recommended the Ministry of Social Development become an intelligent social housing purchaser.

In a letter released to RNZ with the report, MSD social housing deputy chief executive Scott Gallacher said that had been taken up.

"MSD issued its latest purchasing strategy, which includes its plan to purchase over 6400 additional social housing places by June 2020," the letter said, according to RNZ.

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