What progress is being made on the repairing and rebuilding of Housing New Zealand properties in Christchurch?
STUART SMITH to the Minister for Social Housing: What progress is being made on the repairing and rebuilding of Housing New Zealand properties in Christchurch?
Hon PAULA BENNETT (Minister for Social Housing): Excellent progress is being made on repairing and rebuilding the 95 percent of Housing New Zealand properties that were damaged in the earthquakes. Housing New Zealand has now repaired more than 4,000 of the 5,000 homes that it needs to fix and is well on track to finish all 5,000 by the end of this year.
In addition to the 191 new homes that have already been built, a further 509 are contracted or under construction. Around 1,000 workers are involved in the repair and rebuild programme. The volume of work that Housing New Zealand faced was unprecedented, and I am really pleased that it has risen to the challenge. Thanks.
Stuart Smith: How is the repair and rebuild programme improving the quality of social houses in Christchurch?
Hon PAULA BENNETT: The programme is not only restoring the number of houses but also enhancing the quality by building modern, warm, dry homes. Floor coverings, ventilation, heating, insulation, and other upgrades have been incorporated into the repair programmes. There is also a programme for upgrading thermal curtains. This programme began in 2013. Housing New Zealand has upgraded more than 17,000 properties with thermal drapes throughout New Zealand, including 151 in the last week alone.
Stuart Smith: How is the rebuild programme contributing to having more social houses of the right size for tenants?
Hon PAULA BENNETT: Last week I visited new Housing New Zealand homes on Armagh Street in Christchurch, where nine new two-bedroom units have been built on a site that used to have just four houses. The houses are warm and modern and are a better fit for the needs of the tenants. But the old houses are being put to use too. They are being refurbished by inmates at Rolleston Prison as part of a joint initiative with the Department of Corrections. Once they are finished, they will be relocated—the houses, that is; not the inmates—in the Christchurch region and rented to Housing New Zealand tenants.