Hawke's Bay's active social housing lobby is unimpressed by Budget announcements of investment in social housing and increased accommodation allowances.
Napier social housing advocate Minnie Ratima, who has been marshalling the attack on government policy which saw Hawke's Bay lose almost 380 state housing homes in the five years to early July last year, says some renters may benefit from increased accommodation allowances, but it will be mainly the landlords who benefit, with more guaranteed and likely increased rent.
She says the private-sector residential rental market is based on the financial situations of the property developers and owners.
"But the Government really does need to look more at income-related rent policy for those on low incomes," she said. "These people need to be able be stable in good homes that they can afford."
"What, seriously, is it going to do for the homeless and the 130-plus families waiting for state houses in Napier?" she asked. "If they (the Government) were genuinely wanting to reduce child poverty and alleviate the housing crisis they would have focused on these two matters as top priorities."
Yesterday's announcement in Parliament projected a $205 million spend on new social housing over the next four years, over 80 per cent into what the Budget called "emergency and transitional housing".
About $13 million would be directed to a new Positive Housing Pathways programme (250 social housing placement and support for people leaving prison), and there's allowance for extension nationwide of a Housing First programme which started in March as a two-year pilot in Auckland to address the city's homelessness, with $3.7 million in Government funding and $1 million from the Auckland Council.
Budget 2017 also includes $100 million in new capital funding to allow vacant or under-utilised Crown land to be freed up for additional housing developments, said Social Housing Minister Amy Adams.
"The Government has committed to building 34,000 new houses in Auckland over the next 10 years and the Crown Land Development Programme is contributing land for 2700 of those houses," Adams says.
The Salvation Army, which operates transitional, emergency and other social housing options, regards the Budget as "a step in the right direction" of addressing the widening gap between the haves and the have-nots.
Social policy advisor Ian Hutson said: "Although all the areas identified by the Army have not been addressed, Budget 2017 delivers a substantial boost to low-income working families."