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Community Housing Trust has appointed Queenstown businessman Richard Thomas as chairman, following the retirement of Andrew Blair at the end of April.

Mr Blair led the trust from 2018.

The trust runs a range of programmes to address the lack of affordable housing in Wanaka and Queenstown.

Its website notes that while there is a steady stream of people willing to move into the district, an unusually high percentage of these people leave the district after 12-18months.

The reasons cited are usually due to the high living costs, with the largest of those being the cost of housing.

Mr Thomas is a director of Skyline Enterprises Ltd and other entities. He is also on the board of Snow Sports NZ and chairman of Destination Queenstown.

He said he was looking forward to progressing the trust’s work.

“The importance of wellbeing and community have never been greater in this very trying and uncertain Covid-19 environment.

“The stress and pressure on business owners, employers, employees, and families is real. It has significantly ramped up as the pandemic has taken hold and it will have a long tail.

pressure and the region’s housing affordability are putting home ownership even further out of reach for families wanting to call the Queenstown Lakes region home.

“I look forward to being part of the housing solution for many local residents in both the short- and long-term future,