A drawing of the housing to be expected at the Seddon St site in Naenae, Lower Hutt.
Up to 330 new social, affordable and market homes will be built in the Lower Hutt suburbs of Naenae, Taita, and Waterloo, at a cost of about $9.5 million. HNZ plans to finish building 20 one-bedroom properties at the Seddon St site by mid-2018.
An investment of about $67.3m will go into refurbishing 383 homes in the Hutt Valley to make them warm and dry, and bring them up to standard.
Most of the land is in the hotly contested Hutt South electorate, where a fierce battle is being waged between National list MP Chris Bishop and Labour’s Ginny Andersen for the seat being vacated by Trevor Mallard.
Bishop hailed the announcement as “outstanding news for the region”, while Andersen said the Government had bowed to community pressure and should have acted “five years ago, not three months out from an election”.
Adams said the work would begin immediately at the four initial sites in Epuni, Naenae and Waiwhetu. The first new homes would be completed by mid-2018.
“While Housing NZ has 3800 social houses in the Hutt Valley, many are the wrong size and some are in need of refurbishment, so our plan is build more houses and bring hundreds of others up to modern standards,” she said.
Labour leader Andrew Little and Hutt South candidate Ginny Andersen, centre, in April, announcing plans to build 400 houses on vacant Housing New Zealand land in Lower Hutt.
Bishop said: “Hutt Valley has been growing strongly for the last 18 months or more, so this housing supply will keep pace with that growth.
“We understand there has been community concern about the vacant lands, but the reality is Housing NZ has been working on this for a while, and I have been trying to give them the hurry-up.
“But we now see comprehensive plans for those sites … and with a number of one-bedroom houses planned, it will aim to right-size the portfolio to meet the growing demand for those types of homes.”
An estimated 500 people attended a protest in April, organised by the Rev Martin Robinson to draw attention to the level of vacant HNZ land in Lower Hutt.
Anderson said National had “bowed to the pressure piled on them by the Labour Party and other local campaigners”.
“For five years we have held campaigns and protests with local bodies, and never received a response about what was happening.
“It’s good to see they are finally taking the community’s need seriously, but it doesn’t seem like a genuine response to the need. If it was, it would have been done five years ago, not three months out from an election.”
In April, the Rev Martin Robinson led campaigners in camping out on an empty HNZ section in Naenae, and urging the agency to build affordable housing there. HNZ responded that it had comprehensive plans but did not provide any details.
Also in April, Labour announced its plan to build a mix of 400 state houses and affordable KiwiBuild homes in the Hutt Valley in its first term in government to tackle the housing crisis in there.
“It’s been hard for the community to see land lying vacant for so long, when people are in desperate need for housing,” Andersen said.
The vacant land in Epuni and Naenae has also been a source of ongoing frustration for the Hutt City Council, and mayor Ray Wallace said today’s announcement was great news for the city.
HNZ had previously announced it would develop vacant land in Petone, when David Ogden was mayor between 2004 and 2010, but nothing came of those plans.
“We are delighted that money will go into upgrading current stock, making them watertight and warm,” Wallace said.
“It will be a win for tenants – healthy homes make for healthy families.”
WHAT WILL BE BUILT
30 homes on four vacant sites in Naenae, Taita and Waterloo:
Seddon St, Naenae
* 20 x 1-bedroom, completed mid 2018
* 1 x 5-bedroom, late 2018
* 1 x 6-bedroom, late 2018
Buller Gr, Naenae
* 2 x 4-bedroom, early-to-mid 2018
* 2 x 2-bedroom, early-to-mid 2018
Molesworth St, Taita
* 2 x 4-bedroom, early 2018
Galway St, Waterloo
* 2 x 4-bedroom, early 2018
Up to 300 homes across four Lower Hutt sites
Master planning has commenced for a mix of social, affordable and market housing:
* 200 homes in Durham Cres, Cambridge Tce and Hampton Court, Epuni
* 40 homes in Oxford Tce, Epuni
* 40 homes in Naenae Rd, Naenae
* 20 homes White Lines East, Waiwhetu