HNZ to build houses where church-based protest took place


Housing New Zealand (HNZ) has resource consent to build houses in Naenae on a site that was the scene of a church-based protest.

Construction is expected to begin shortly, with the first homes finished by mid-2018.

In April, members of St David’s Anglican Church in Naenae camped out for the weekend on land across the road from their church.

The protest organiser, Reverend Martin Robinson, said at the time it had reinforced his view that urgent action was required.

“I knew it was a crisis but I did not know just how bad it was … scores of folk talked about their own personal experience of living in garages or cars, or jammed in overcrowded houses. There were heaps of couch surfers.”

Planning is also underway at a number of other Lower Hutt sites, including Epuni, which together could provide 330 new homes.

In July, the then social housing minister Amy Adams announced plans to build and refurbish up to 700 homes in Lower Hutt over the next five years.

At the time there was cynicism about the government’s commitment, with critics noting the proximity to the election.

Area manager Stephen Wilson said before HNZ began detailed planning it wanted to hear from the local community.

“That’s why we’ve been talking with the local school, kindergarten, social service agencies and other local stakeholders to identify how the redevelopment can help the community to be vibrant and sustainable.”

Wallace said he was pleased HNZ was finally making progress, as housing remained a major problem in the city.

He hoped HNZ would look at providing a range of accommodation and the need for housing families was not overlooked.


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News category: New Zealand.

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