The Christchurch Progressive Network will appear in a deputation to the Christchurch City Council’s Social, Community and Housing Development Committee tomorrow to urge the committee to end its heartless and hypocritical policy towards council rental housing.
The committee is meeting to discuss a proposed $30 loan, at commercial lending criteria, to the Otautahi Community Housing Trust to build 130 new council rental units.
This is a heartless policy because it fails to address the housing crisis for low-income tenants and families in the city. (There were 552 on the council waiting list earlier this year along with 750 on the state house waiting list in June)
The proposal also fails to rebuild the more than 400 council rental units destroyed in the earthquakes.
It is a hypocritical policy because while the council refuses to spend ratepayer dollars on rebuilding its rental housing it is happy to spend millions in rates rebates for property developers building luxury apartments in the city centre. An OIA from CPN has revealed $8.5 million gifted to developers in city centre residential rate rebates – a $15,000 ratepayer subsidy per unit – over the past 4 years.
Why has the council prioritised handouts to wealthy property developers while refusing to use ratepayer money to build houses for low-income tenants and families?
The situation defies any sort of logic. Council housing brings in rental returns to the council while the millions given away to property developers is a handout which brings no return whatever to the council.
This is commercially stupid as well as morally repugnant and should be a matter of shame for the mayor and councillors.
Our deputation will press for a dramatic change in housing policy to prioritise rebuilding council housing above a new multi-purpose rugby stadium.
Every child in Christchurch should have a warm dry home before a new rugby stadium is built.