Government considering extension for Kāinga Ora Healthy Homes target

Healthy Homes standards include basic requirements for heating and insulation. Photo / File

The Government has confirmed it is considering extending the state landlord’s deadline next year to meet minimum Healthy Homes requirements.

Kāinga Ora has a different timeframe to ensure its 68,000 public homes meet Healthy Homes standards, with minimum heating, insulation and ventilation requirements.

The private sector has been required to meet the standards within 90 days of any new tenancy from July last year, but the state landlord has until July 1 next year to ensure all of its homes are compliant.

All rentals must meet the standards by July 1, 2024.

Kāinga Ora has been under pressure over the rate at which it has been renovating its properties, many of those home to some of the country’s most vulnerable residents.

In July last year, just one in five met the standards. In July this year, it was up to just over 50 per cent.

Today in Parliament, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni, speaking in place of Housing Minister Megan Woods, confirmed 68 per cent now met the standards – 43,775 homes. Just over 10,600 homes were currently being renovated.

The delivery rate had increased from 180 homes a week in June last year to 600 homes a week in October 2022, Sepuloni said.

Even at that high rate of delivery, the figures indicate Kāinga Ora would miss its target by several thousand properties.

Asked directly in the House by Act Party deputy leader Brooke Van Velden if Kāinga Ora would meet its deadline and if it would be given an extension, Sepuloni said that was “under active Cabinet consideration”.

“Covid-19 did create delays with labour shortages, issues accessing tenants’ homes and supply chain problems for products like heat pumps and insulation materials.

“We want to be pragmatic about a response to this but that is currently under active Cabinet consideration and so I cannot pre-empt a Cabinet decision.”

Van Velden challenged Sepuloni on her response, urging Speaker Adrian Rurawhe to intervene and order she confirm if an extension was to be granted.

Granted a further question, Van Velden then asked Sepuloni if Kāinga Ora had asked for an extension, then if the Government would ever rule out an extension.

Sepuloni repeated the line an extension was “under active consideration”.

National Party Shadow Leader of the House Chris Bishop then challenged the validity of the response, saying technically many measures in government were “under consideration”.

Chief Government Whip Duncan Webb then argued that Cabinet proceedings were confidential and the fact it was “under consideration” was a reason for not disclosing the answer.

Rurawhe determined while MPs might not be satisfied with the answer, the question had been addressed.

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