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"Abysmally managed": PM says Kāinga Ora has done a "terrible job"

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tue, 21 May 2024, 8:49am
Photo / Mark Mitchell
Photo / Mark Mitchell

"Abysmally managed": PM says Kāinga Ora has done a "terrible job"

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tue, 21 May 2024, 8:49am

The Government looks set to devolve large parts of the delivery of public housing to community housing and other social providers after a damning report into Kāinga Ora raised questions about its financial competence, showing it was staring down the barrel of a $700 million annual deficit. 

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon told Mike Hosking that the results of the review were worse than they thought. 

“We had known from opposition that it was being abysmally managed,” he said. 

“It is the biggest landlord in the country, a $45 billion enterprise and has a huge responsibility to Kiwis to deliver state housing and it has done a terrible job.” 

Luxon said the responsibility sits with the board and the previous administration, which allowed it to run up $10 billion in debt. 

“It had no plan to stop it getting to $29 billion in 10 years' time.” 

He said the government is moving quickly to implement some of the report’s recommendations such as refreshing the board and getting a turnaround in place. 

Luxon said he was shocked when the board did not have a statement of financial position. 

“When the board doesn’t know to ask for that, that’s a big problem. Clearly, the financial literacy was poor.” 

When asked if the government would use community providers to build state housing, Luxon said organisations like the Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, and Māori and iwi providers can do it at a lower cost. 

“They also provide better pastoral care in those communities as well,” he said. 

“I’m interested in providing more social housing, whether that comes from state houses via KO or community housing providers - the mix will be determined. 

“Ultimately, there is a bigger role to play for community housing providers.” 

Luxon said the government is still waiting for France’s go-ahead before sending an NZDF plane into New Caledonia. 

“We are waiting for the French authorities to deem that it is safe,” he said. 

“The roading out to the airport in the past 48 hours has had issues in terms of security and unrest. It has to be safe when we move. 

“All I can reassure you is we are ready to go. We can deploy NZDF assets, we have also explored other options such as commercial charters. We have been working incredibly well with the Australians. 

Luxon said Foreign Minister Winston Peters is doing a brilliant job at pushing the French system in New Caledonia and Paris. 

When asked whether the French are days away from giving the go-ahead, Luxon said it could well be, but the government, alongside the Australians, are pushing them. 


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