28 November 2018
A delegation representing the Southland Housing Action Forum (SHAF) presented a report on the state of the region’s housing situation to Housing Minister Phil Twyford and government sector officials on Monday during meetings at parliament facilitated by Labour List MP Dr Liz Craig.
Salvation Army Southland spokesperson David Hope and Venture Southland’s GM of Business and Strategic Projects Steve Canny gave a compelling presentation which included facts showing the stark need for immediate progress to be made.
This was followed by positive discussions between officials and the delegation, which also included Southland District Mayor Gary Tong, Invercargill City Council Mayor Tim Shadbolt & Deputy Mayor Rebecca Amundsen, Southland Chamber Chief Executive Sheree Carey, Paul Searanacke from Habitat for Humanity and Awarua Synergy CEO Sumaria Beaton.
SHAF commissioned Venture Southland to undertake the research and the report was extensive and extremely thorough.
Chamber CE Sheree Carey said “The team at Venture have done a fantastic job pulling together all the information so we had the comprehensive data required to take to parliament. It also included future projections on business growth based on the recent
Labour Market Survey and the staffing required for the massive upcoming construction projects in Invercargill, along with the effects of AIRBNB”
“The numbers are alarming with over 140 homes needed throughout the region now in the emergency, transitional and state housing area and another 2600+ in the next 12 months to fill the general housing gap. With over 480 houses required every year after that for 5 years just to deal with population growth, the situation was much worse than she had perceived.” Carey said.
The delegation was extremely well received with officials citing the possibility of a Central Government/Regional partnership to tackle the issue.
As part of the next step, representatives from the newly formed Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will visit Southland before Christmas and meet with the SHAF, councils and private developers to look into potential opportunities.
SHAF Chairman Shaun Drylie said “it is pleasing to see the coordinated approach of SHAF creating some positive momentum, although we need to highlight that fixing a structural issue will take time, but there’s no time like the present to start”