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Auditor General says the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development needs to do better even though some positive things have been achieved

Property / news
Auditor General says the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development needs to do better even though some positive things have been achieved
Row of terrace houses

A state organisation set up five years ago to fix the housing crisis has made progress but needs to do its job better, according to the Controller and Auditor General, John Ryan. 

The target of his commentary is the main state agency for housing policy, Te Tūāpapa Kura Kāinga – the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.

This ministry was set up in 2018 after an earlier savage review. 

That review came in a cabinet paper which described the housing system as "lacking clear leadership, coherence, and effective long-term stewardship."

Accompanying that report was a public outcry over people sleeping in cars, or being financially drained by paying high rents or mortgage costs, relative to their income. 

Five years later, the Ministry has been reviewed by the Auditor General to see what progress has been made and it has received a mixed scorecard.  

"It must continue to improve its understanding of the housing and urban development system's current and projected performance," Ryan wrote.

"It must regularly report on (progress) to the public and those responsible for influencing housing and urban development outcomes."

Ryan went on to call for better governance of the housing industry and better reporting on progress to improve it. 

His report mentions many problems afflicting housing. They include decreasing numbers of people who own their own home, more people waiting for public housing and many poorer quality homes.

The Auditor General's report was not street-level analysis of these problems. Instead, it looked at the bureaucratic structures set up to deal with them.

In official-speak, it said there should be better reporting on housing problems, and regular assessments of moves to improve them.

It was at pains to point out that housing and urban development are complex issues, with many public and private groups involved and a range of different permissions needed for things like land availability and resource consents.  

It said that meant that providing leadership to improve housing outcomes was not easy, and the Ministry did not have many direct levers to influence the housing system's performance.

In looking at how these challenges had been met, the Auditor General said there had been improvements with the Ministry working with multiple groups to develop shared objectives.    

This involved working with other affected state agencies such as the Ministry of Social Development, Kāinga Ora, Te Puni Kōkiri, and the Ministry for the Environment.

While this was already happening, the degree of coordination needed to improve.  

And the Auditor General said more needs to be done to improve the Ministry's own performance and governance. 

The Auditor General's analysis focused almost entirely on the Ministry's leadership of state institutions which deal with housing, rather then on the housing difficulties for ordinary New Zealanders. 

Kelvin Davidson of CoreLogic says he can't speak on how well state agencies perform. But he gives a rough idea of what the housing system is like for people at street level. 

"It's got better, house prices have fallen, incomes have gone up, but it started from such a stretched position that I have characterised housing as cheaper but not cheap," he says.

"There is still a housing affordability problem in New Zealand, and it is hard to see it getting much better in the short term," says Davidson.

"It looks like house prices have stopped falling, and incomes might go up a bit, but so might house prices, so those things might cancel each other out,"

Davidson says increasing the supply of houses in the long run might be a help, but that is not an easy thing to do. He adds the shortage of housing critical a few years ago has eased with a lot of home building going on, especially of town houses and apartments. But he adds there are more people living in each house on average.

"We have seen a building boom in the last three or four years past few years.   I won't say the housing shortage has fallen to zero, but it is definitely smaller than it was then."

He says in terms of a balance between supply and demand, the housing market now is about as good as it has ever been, but there is still a shortage of houses of some types in some areas.  

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How much does Housing corp owe? 

How much rent comes in each year? 

How much is the total  valuation of their properties?

Three simple questions. Anybody have answers for the long suffering taxpayer owners?


Taxpayers don't own houses other than their own. The government spends by using its own sovereign currency.


The last third of this article, if true, is heartening.

I've said for a long time that we have an 'entry level' social housing problem in NZ, not a housing problem per se. There are tens of thousands of dwellings in NZ that are currently not occupied for a variety of reasons. Such is life for the property classes. It's the poor sods at the bottom of the food chain who suffer with high rents & damp houses in poor neighbourhoods.

For the last 60 years NZ govts have been underwriting the breeding of unfamilied children, who in turn repeat what they know, then the govt doesn't do anything about housing these folk, thus giving the private rentier class the opportunity to establish itself in that gap.

Don't blame the landlords for the govts incompetence. 


I would like to see more homes being built we have a huge problem if we don’t people living in cars two or three families living in overcrowded conditions as need to club together to pay rent, this will end very badly if government doesn’t get it finger out.


Either that or people will cotton on to the fact they might need to live in larger households.


I have a family member that lives on the street/car they have been offered a house/room etc but because of their mental state they perfer the street/car. Not all people sleeping rough want to live in a house and or even know how to maintain a house/room. Secondly alot of Phillipinos/Polynesians etc like their extended family living in a house. What a westerner would class as over crowded is pretty standard to them again I know of one Phillipino family 17 in a 3 brm house they don't want more room. Thirdly people also need to take responsibility for their own actions rather than expecting the govt/tax payer to bail them out all the time. Having multiple children to multiple partners and the she will be right attitude needs to change. 


One of the other articles had a KO "house" somewhere in S Akl at ~750k maybe closer to 800k. I hardly classify $800k as an affordable  home for a first time buyer. Then I think the same article had KO floating mortgage at 8.something %.

WTF. Is KO now a "bank?" Surely KO can get exceptionally cheap govt funds. Now into money making on a huge margin borrow len margin.