Housing Minister Nick Smith and Housing NZ chief executive Glen Sowry are spending the next week in Australia taking a close look at how social housing works across the ditch.
“Social housing in New Zealand, unlike most countries, is dominated by state provision," Smith said.
"Research shows we can get better results from a more diverse social housing sector. The Government’s ambition is to dramatically grow the community social housing sector to provide 20 per cent of social housing. Australia has achieved this over the past two decades and I want to learn from their experience."
Smith and Sowry will be having a close look at social housing in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney.
Social housing in Australia is a state government responsibility and community social housing makes up about 20% social housing stock - compared with less than 1% in New Zealand, Smith said.
In its May 16 Budget this year the Government introduced new measures aimed at opening up the provision of social housing to a number of providers.
“Our Social Housing Reform Bill currently before Parliament is a game changer for community social housing," Smith said.
"It will enable approved community housing providers to access the income related rent subsidy that is currently only available to Housing New Zealand. We are also growing the sector with grants from the Social Housing Fund,” he said.
“The success of these reforms is dependent on getting the detail right. I want to look in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane at their system for registering social housing providers, how they ensure quality housing, how their system is funded and the different approaches to expanding the sector.
“I also want to shift Housing New Zealand away from intensive state housing suburbs to mixed tenure developments. I will be visiting a number of redevelopments where there is a mix of state, affordable and community social housing.
“New Zealand and Australia share similar major challenges over housing affordability and supply. We need to be open to learning from their experiences as we reform our systems to get better outcomes for families.”