Weekly Update #3 – Incoming Information and Support


This week I got another private landlord to provide another unit to the Salvation Army’s offender reintegration program.

Providing good housing for reintergration is critical. Offenders who don’t have good housing can re-offend quickly and this is a path directly back to prison.

Offending creates more victims as well as causing an expensive revolving door in our courts.


I meet with Cr Phil Maugers last week to talk about social housing moving forward.

Phil did some work on better the cost of improving a number of social houses during the election campaign.

I now have a copy of those quotes from Hagley Window Replacements. They’re not cheap at around 10% of the average cost of units.

I can see value in asking the question for living rooms on the ground floor, south sides of complexes where the winter sun will not get and cause those homes to need heating.

People want to help improve social housing in the city, this was clear from my conversations with both Phil and Collin, from Hagley.


Also of interest this week was a discussion with a large land holder in Burwood with land adjacent to Concord Place.

As I’ve traveled my recent journey into social housing, it’s become obvious to me that there is profit in this area with an ample supply of profitable tenants. I’ve been looking around the city at locations and the question of the need for a competitor to OCHT.

It seems to me that the model is now well understood and the demand for housing very much exists.



This weeks CCC Sustainability and Community Resilience Committee agenda includes a big section on social housing.

I reached out to the chair to make a short deputation on Thursday because I had a number of questions about the quality of data and information being presented to elected members and I also want to reaffirm with the council that our interest in social housing was more than just as an election stunt.

The result of this exchange has been a very productive exchange with the CCC housing manager who has invited Stephen and I to meet to talk further about housing at some point and has also provided an extensive backgrounder to improve our understanding.


Some very useful and interesting data showed up from HNZ this week. They presented their data by census area and broke it down by ‘bedroom count’.

Big thanks to Stephen who spent some time checking the data, putting it into a spreadsheet and added ward data so I could import it into the database to let us compare and consolidate with the council data.

In presenting this data for your consideration, these are the things that occurred to me.

  • The social housing portfolio is large and getting a good view of it isn’t easy.
  • For good governance elected members should constrain to looking at stock in their own ward as a starting point
  • Members need to consider the condition and quantity in their ward and the need.
  • CCC data doesn’t present number of bedrooms, so it’s hard to compare with HNZ data.
  • A useful measure of service is bedrooms, not just dwellings
  • We don’t know where the ‘Other social housing providers’ units are


  • The HNZ data columns are showing 0,1,2,3,4,5+ rooms per dwelling
  • Papanui includes 18 ‘zero’ bedroom dwellings in the HNZ data, we never asked why.


As you can see, we are starting to get a more full picture of the state of social housing in our city.

Our aim to to better understand the bottom rung of housing in our city to best inform ourselves and others around housing policy and rise up the state of social housing.

Weekly Updates #2 – Presenting Information And Ideas

This week Stephen spent many hours improving and building up the presentation of the September housing data. He added a “Community Boards” summary page which shows a very high level look at the amount of housing in each area and how many are currently closed.

I spent some time with a number of elected officials, presented our work on the web site and reaffirmed our interest to see social housing get serious attention in this term. I felt like there is a agreement that we have to get closed units open. They serve no one closed.

A ‘social housing working group’, chaired by the mayor is being established this term, in addition to the normal collection of committees. I’m assured that this will have teeth given that it is being chaired directly by Lianne and not just get lost in the mix as happened in the past. Personally, at present, I think this is fantastic news for social housing. If this term becomes Lianne’s last then what happens in social housing will become a legacy, if she runs for another term then she is chief in charge of social housing, a portfolio that hung the last chair.


I’m presenting a number of themes.

  1. Why we need CCC in social housing – this doesn’t seem well understood. I published a paper on this a few months ago.
  2. We don’t have as much open stock as people think. People need to get informed and be talking about the real numbers which are closer to 1,900 not 2,200.
  3. Fix it first – Fixing closed units has to be the priority. Repairs don’t require consents or architects, they simply need builders and project managers. Trades are calling out for work. This also includes the heating which there is still no program of work completed for.
  4. We need to ‘trade’. We have to stop talking about ‘asset sales’. Right now our social housing stock is not much of an ‘asset’, it should be. We need to ‘trade it’ back to good health. In some cases that will mean selling off bits, buying bits, fixing bits and building lots!
  5. We need to borrow. Our current asset value is around $325m, we should be borrowing that up to $1.5b to match an 80% equity and how the private market manages residential property.
  6. It’s time to build – Money is cheap, we did most of our building in the 1970’s. There are currently 130 units on the horizon. That’s a fraction of what is going to be needed to keep up with population growth, age and the age of our current stock, 342 units were demolished.

In the past week council have had their swearing in and first meetings. At present dates for the committee that housing falls under have not been set. My plan is to make a public forum presentation at the first meeting asking for focus on the issues above. I’m also interested to know what support there is for a petition to call for attention to such.


Weekly Update #1 – Requests for Information

Every week I’m going to try to write some words about what we’ve been up to, so here goes for week one!


Stephen has been smashing out the data input of all the information we’ve discovered so far about OCHT. A couple of weeks ago I reached out and asked for more information from the trust to fill in a few of the gaps from the information that CCC had on their web site. I have to say I found the trust to be very open and they provided the information very quickly.


This week I connected with the Housing NZ team and they’ve agreed to provide information about their stock in Christchurch so we can gather a more detailed picture about what exists. They’re going to provide data by suburb (which we will process into wards) so that we can provide everyone with a more detailed picture by area.


I have also not forgotten an earlier interest in the climate data that HNZ has been collecting. At last weeks housing forum I spoke with the CDHB folk who are also looking at the same questions.

I have also lodged a formal request with CCC for more information about the delivery of the heating and ventilation program that was committed to in September.


Today I also made time to pop into Williams Corporations new Christchurch office, caught up with one of their MD’s and GM and meet their capital fund guy Chris Conner.

I dropped in because I wanted to grab some light reading.

You might be wondering what this has to do with OUR SOCIAL HOUSING when those properties start from over $350,000.00! Simple… housing is a ‘ladder’ and if people want to get out of social housing and into a private market flat that they can afford then we have to push everyone else on the ladder up a rung. We also have to get more housing built, and we do care what that housing is. Right now, these guys are busy building stuff that the market is just screaming out for, so I’m doing everything I can to know as much as I can about it.

No, I’m not selling them, no, I’m not in the market for one right now… but YES, I know people who are, I know people who have money to spend, I know people who would benefit from knowing, and so do you!

It was fantastic to get to meet with Chris this afternoon because he’s a guy who just knows all about raising capital to help Williams Corporation build more homes in Christchurch. One day I’d like to build a heap of social housing too, that needs money and it’s people like Chris who teach people how to raise capital so the more time people like Chris will give you, the better for everyone!