Housing issues close to home

A note (pictured) was left under the windscreen wiper of my car at the supermarket on Friday night. It got me thinking.

So to the author of the note, I suggest you do some homework before you leave messages in the future.

First, whoever wrote the note doesn’t know much about me, as I only have one house, the same house I’ve lived in for 35 years.

Second, I got the house I have by buying the worst house I could find, doing it up, and trading on until I could afford a nice house.

I sometimes think that skill has disappeared in recent years.

However, the irony of the message in this note is that the council I have led for the past six years has done more to promote and construct affordable housing than any other council in New Zealand.

Indeed, along with the Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust, we’re often asked to provide assistance and information to other councils interested in following similar paths to ours.

Council has recently taken a further step towards inclusionary zoning, which will require land developers to contribute either 5% of the lots created, or 5% of value into the housing trust.

I know this is a double-edged sword, because at least a portion of the cost of this contribution will be loaded on to lots sold on the open market.

However, there would be few who would argue against the fact that the cost of housing is the most significant social problem in the district, and we will not solve the problem by sitting back waiting for ‘‘the market’’ to find a way to address it.

The Secure Home model, now promoted by the housing trust but developed by the Mayoral Taskforce on Housing in 2017, is now the best tool in the box to address the issue.

The trust has a nice tag-line to refer to Secure Homes being a nest not a nest egg, in other words, a secure, warm, permanent place to live, but not your retirement fund.

The success and attractiveness of the model is underscored by the hundreds of families who have their name down for a Secure Home.

Building affordable homes continues to be a challenge.

With inflation running rampant, costs keep growing and the housing trust is continually struggling to find the funding to continue to build.

However, as the saying goes, you never get to the other side unless you push the boat off the shore; we are making progress.

The week before last I turned the sod on the new Tewa Banks development in Arrowtown, which will see the creation of 68 new homes, 48 of which will be Secure Homes.

This is a major step in the right direction and I very much look forward to seeing the start of construction.

Finally, this is the last column I will pen as mayor in The News, and I wish the readership well with whatever comes in the future. Thank you for reading my columns.