Sonya is a social issues reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Buyers for city's state houses

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Bill English says the property transactions are about tenants, ensuring they were being housed in properties that suited their needs and supporting those who were able to transition back into independence.
Bill English says the property transactions are about tenants, ensuring they were being housed in properties that suited their needs and supporting those who were able to transition back into independence.

Three groups are throwing their hats into the ring to buy Tauranga's state houses.

New Zealand Treasury yesterday announced three groups had made it to the next stage of the sale process.

Accessible Properties, Hapori Connect Tauranga and Kainga Community Housing Partners have been invited to participate in the next stage for the transfer of about 1124 Tauranga state houses.

In response to questions from the Bay of Plenty Times, the Treasury said the Government would not be setting the price for the transfers of the properties.

The purchase price would be determined by the responses from the three groups and any subsequent negotiations with the Government.

In its response, the Treasury said it was not expected the purchase price would reflect the values of the properties. The bidding groups would need to take into account the requirement to improve the properties and deliver the services for tenants over the long term.

"The Government will seek to get fair and reasonable value for taxpayer, while ensuring that any transaction is sustainable from a provider's perspective."

The Treasury said funds from the sale would help fund more spending on social housing.

"We've also agreed that we will ensure [Housing New Zealand] has the capital it needs to fund its asset management strategy and play its part in providing social housing for New Zealanders.

"Some of the freed-up capital may also be used for other capital projects needed across government."

The three successful groups comprise a national organisation, a consortium of international organisations, and a consortium of Western Bay iwi and other specialist groups.

Accessible Properties, a charitable organisation fully owned by IHC and chaired by Tauranga's Paul Adams, manages 1100 social housing properties throughout New Zealand.

Hapori Connect Tauranga is a consortium of three international organisations, John Laing Infrastructure Fund, Pinnacle Community Housing, and Brookfields Global Integrated Solutions. The three organisations have different specialties in regards to social housing.

Kainga Community Housing Partners is a consortium of Tauranga iwi Nga Potiki and Te Puke iwi Tapuika, international investment management firm Morrison and Co, Wairarapa-based Trust House Limited, Australian community housing organisation Compass Housing Service Co, and Programmed Facility Management.

These three groups have until June 7 to submit a comprehensive and fully costed proposal for the purchase of the properties.

The preferred bidder for each region is expected to be announced in the third quarter of this calendar year.

Housing New Zealand Minister Bill English said these transactions were about tenants, ensuring they were being housed in properties that suited their needs and supporting those who were able to transition back into independence.

Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett said the Government was changing the social housing system because they wanted it to be aspirational instead of generational.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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