National commits to devolving more power to community housing providers to manage social housing and help renters into home ownership

National commits to devolving more power to community housing providers to manage social housing and help renters into home ownership

National is applying its ‘tough on beneficiaries’ stance to its social housing policy.

It’s committing to applying a “remind, remedy, and remove” approach to social housing, where if after a warning and assistance to fix the issue, a poorly behaved tenant refuses to change, they are evicted.

“We believe anti-social behaviours such as violence and drug use should have consequences,” National said in its social services discussion document released on Wednesday. 

Leader Simon Bridges promoted the paper on Tuesday night by revealing in a tweet that one of the party’s policies is for government to “block gang members from the dole if they can't prove they don't have illegal income or assets”.

While the discussion document didn’t detail how a National-led government would implement the policy, particularly without profiling beneficiaries or harming the children of gang members, it did shed some light on the party’s approach towards social housing.  

Question marks over extent to which responsibility should be devolved to community providers

National wants community housing providers to play a greater role managing social houses.

Devolving some responsibility from government, it wants them to have the option of managing state housing tenancies.

It is also consulting on whether government should underwrite the building of social houses, to encourage community housing providers to build more. KiwiBuild also sees the government underwrite private development, but for first-home-buyers.

Going a step further, National is asking for feedback on whether community house providers could do a better job than Kāinga Ora, building, owning and managing social housing.

It also wants to explore “whether Kāinga Ora should both build houses and manage tenancies, or whether these responsibilities should be separated in order to ensure that one is not neglected in favour of the other”.

Kāinga Ora was established on October 1 to pull together Housing New Zealand, its subsidiary HLC and the KiwiBuild Unit, to lead urban development projects and be a public landlord.

Treasury in July advised the Government to keep Kāinga Ora’s focus narrow, to “enabling housing supply” and “managing and delivering additional public housing”, to avoid “alternate goals” dominating funding decisions.

National on the same page as the Govt on rent-to-buy

In terms of helping renters into home ownership, National once again wants community housing providers to be more involved.

Like the Coalition Government, it wants to work with providers to “develop shared equity and long-term partnership models”, including rent-to-buy schemes.

“There’s no single model to follow, but many schemes work on applying rent towards the purchase of the property. Importantly, many schemes rely on an assumption that housing prices will continue to rise, increasing homeowners’ equity,” National said.

“Such schemes are not without risk. These risks can be managed, but they may also require government involvement.

“National believes that if such schemes were to expand, we would need to ensure those participating were fully supported with budgeting, debt management and home maintenance advice.”

The Government has committed $400 million to a yet-to-be-created progressive home ownership scheme.

When it announced its housing reset in September, it said it expected this to help between 2500 and 4000 households over four years.

Housing Minister Megan Woods couldn’t say exactly how community organisations that already offer rent-to-buy schemes would be brought into the fold, but said the Government planned to scale up the work already underway.

Habitat for Humanity, for example, has helped more than 500 families into home ownership through its rent-to-buy scheme.

She expected to introduce a paper to Cabinet before the end of the year and have a scheme up and running in 2020.

More funding for homeless shelters proposed

In terms of addressing homelessness, National proposes introducing a target to reduce the time it takes to house priority people.

It’s consulting on whether government should introduce a dollar-for-dollar scheme with existing homeless shelters to either improve or expand their facilities.

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.



I like the Halloween themed post Jenee, leading with pictures of a ghoul most foul.. :)

On a serious note, how hard is to prove you don't have an illegal (and most likely all cash) income? Here are the non-receipts for the non-existant income I don't have??.. Surely it is a case of somebody having to provide evidence you do have an undeclared income rather than trying to provide proof of something that doesn't exist?


Yep, it sure is a weird burden of proof.

A true Halloween story would have been Soimon going after the people who rort the system/taxpayer legally.
That would have sent shivers down the spines of his supporter base.

"As PM I'll make sure gangs can't exploit taxpayers."
It's only wrong to exploit the taxpayer if you are a 'job seeker'/in a gang, guys.

Does 'rort the system legally' actually just mean doing something you personally don't like? I have no issues at all with people following the law and I don't understand why you do. Interesting how you conflate gang members with job seekers, do you consider them to be equal?

A bit tricky if your income is gifted to you as honorariums by generous underlings - gifts are not taxed are they? Gangs predate NZ's poor. I read somewhere that gang members will frequently 'farm' several DPB mums - with implied menaces - to provide them with living needs. The women and kids in such houses are badly endangered, 2016: Of the total 3,960 known gang members, 27 percent (1,056) were recorded by Child, Youth and Family as being the alleged perpetrators of substantiated abuse or neglect of children. Gangsters are awful recidivist predators who we should not suffer to live among us.


This man has to be one of the most disingenuous people I have seen in politics for a long time, and I include Donald Trump in that. There is more dog whistling coming from him than on any high country muster.
Has he forgotten his party changed the name of the dole to the job seekers allowance, has he forgotten that his party dumped the sickness benefit and now these people find themselves among the denigrated dole bludgers.
He is definitely not fit for government.


So, Mr Bridges...
You want the staff member at WINZ to ask the gang member(s) on the other side of the desk from them "Where did you get the cash for all those assets you have? If you can't tell me I'm going to cut your benefits off!"
Have YOU tried that? Have you been the bunny on the other side of the desk asking the 'Harley" rider all those questions?
And if so, how did you feel? More importantly, how did you react to their reaction?!
Another brilliant idea escapes the mouth of our alternative Prime Minister....


@bw. You are saying WINZ should give in to bullying by gang members. I think they should do the opposite.

Id suggest WINZ start employing more intimidating violent staff so they can effectively deal with some of their intimidating violent clients.

Having never been in a WINZ office I can only imagine the horror and depravity on show. We should just buy all of them a one way ticket to Australia.

No, BW is pointing out the reality of some low paid WINZ paper pusher having to face down a Mongrel Mob member.

Perhaps we should include WINZ case manager as part of the rotation of our SAS soldiers?

Just make Gang members conduct their interviews via teleconference. Can't threaten someone if they are not there.


So National's approach to handling social housing is to make the occupants homeless through fictitious claims which could only be defended by trying to prove a negative. If social housing had evidence of a tenant being involved in gang activities then that is a Police matter.

Elsewhere, including twitter and other social media, people have been pointing out that if people lose their benefit and their house then they will have to turn to crime to eat. Benefits do play a role in subduing criminal activity and it costs less than Police operations or housing people in correctional facilities. What National is proposing is to intentionally harm the economy as well as reducing social stability. They are running contrary to their own conservative beliefs and even at National Party HQ in Beijing they would think such an idea is stupid.

How many benefits would they cut before there are food riots? Given that most beneficiaries are pensioners how long until they make false accusations that the elderly are involved in gangs then cut pensions and boot them out of rest homes? The rise of extremism within National is very concerning.

If find your views quite extreme and alarming, although twitter is a very reliable source of information. If we stop giving gang members free money then food riots will only be the start of it. We should be giving gang members extra money so they behave better and then we wont need any police, but still keep the speed cameras because doing 60 in a 50 is murderous.

The police are doing a lot of great damage to crims through seizing the proceeds of crime. Working through the benefit system on the same basis is only ever going to deal with a small number of people - but why not.

I agree, use the proceeds of crime act.. its on the very borderline of being against the core principles of our legal system (innocent until proven guilty still being a cornerstone of our legal system last time i checked), but at least it still requires somebody to front up with some evidence of criminal behaviour, and there is actually a way to prove you are not guilty. This latest national idea fails both tests, there is no innocent until proven guilty, and un-founded accusation that cannot be disproven.

Community housing associations have a long and extensive history overseas: the UK is one such with structures, legal environment and software which could hit the ground running here if Gubmint were not ensnared by 'Not Invented Here' syndrome. There's too much variation even in little ol' NZ, for the usual one-size-fits-all approach, via the usual Department full of deadwood, to succeed. Community organisations can better reflect local needs, costs, prices and aspirations.

Nah it's just a neo liberal wetdream. Devolve blahblah

typical debased rhetoric from the usual clowns - jumping at shadows and barking at cars

hypocrisy,higher paid beneficiary of taxpayer denies taking money under false pretences,points finger at "those other guys,those guys on Harleys."

Gangs offer no value. They are doing damage to themselves. Don't forget in most gangs you have to commit a heinous crime to become a member.
The government should have stamped them out in the 70s.

How do you wipe the Mafia out? They are very resilient. US Rico statues offer some pointers and have been pretty effective, going cashless would likely help too. Banning known insignia might help reduce their intimidation impact - but they just start using more subtle signals like clothing colors and hand signs.

That's the million dollar question.

The breakdown of the traditional family and absent fathers wouldn't help the situation.

Bad parenting to blame?

The breakdown of the family is a necessary part of a civilised society, you can't be treating family members favorably that's not fair to non members of your family. Imagine if the mayor starting giving all the contracts to his brothers construction company, how scandalous. There is no place for strong family bonds in a civilised society. If a traditional family had any value, then it would be taught in our school curriculum. It isn't, because it has no value.

To think stomping them out in the 70's would affect anything today is ludicrous.

Some of the 'smartest' people in the world constantly repeat the same financial mistakes that were made in the last 10-20 years, and you expect actions taken by government 50 years ago, to affect the decisions of disaffected youth on the street today?

Yes they should have stomped them out. I'm confident most of New Zealand would agree with that statement.

Decisions made hundreds of years ago can still affect peoples lives today, especially the disaffected youth, look at how much the treaty of waitangi has made Maori suffer even today. Even race targeted programs can't undo the damage that has been done.

Yawn. They harped on about community housing providers when in office for 9 years and hardly got any momentum.
They are gonna have to do more to interest me...

so we stop the benefit so they turn to crime or more crime, we kick them out of a state house, so they either do a lot of crime to pay for a private rental or they become homeless. either way all that will happen is they will end up in prison costing us
i would rather pay a lessor amount for them to stay out of prison, not to mention the costs of the extra prisons we will have to build this is a short sighted dog whistle policy
"Prison costs in New Zealand have risen over the past 30 years, with the Government spending $100,000 on each prisoner per year"

As the cause of much crime in NZ locking 4000 gang members away is probably saves a large portion of >$10billion annual cost of crime, and in reduced harms to mostly poor individuals and kids (paid for ultimately by the state), even at $100k per year that only costs $400million. But once someone has decided to be a career criminal (in a gang) why should we be paying $100k/year for their incarceration? We could put their (humane) long term incarceration of recidivists out to tender in the 3rd world (with large penalty bonds against abuse or escape) and it would likely cost <$5k per year. Chris Trotter makes some strong points about gangs:

We could send them to Australia and then pay them 50k year, which is a win/win. Australia used to be a penal colony and we can make Australia great again!

Didn't they try this when they were in power and the Sallies told them to get stuffed?

I don't think he is that stupid that he thinks it will work ( or maybe he is ). But he does know there are people stupid enough to vote for him based on policies like this .