Nearly 300 homeless and low income tenants have started moving in to 82 new homes in Auckland.
The Thom St development in New Lynn is being opened by Housing Minister Megan Woods today. The new properties replaced 16 standalone homes which were built in the 1940s.
The development includes seven two-storey standalone homes, 27 two-storey townhouses, and 48 apartments across three buildings. All of them are built to modern standards, with double-glazing and insulation, and the site is near key public transport routes.
Woods said it was "enormously satisfying" to see the progress which was being made on public housing in the city.
"The unseen part of a lot of public housing, particularly in our large scale projects is the significant infrastructure work that enables other affordable and market homes to be built, which is key to increasing supply," she said.
The New Lynn development, which was announced under the National-led Government, will provide much-needed relief to around 292 people on the state housing waiting list. The list soared to 20,000 last month - triple the number in 2017. So far, 33 of the homes have been tenanted.
While the Labour Government is aiming to build 12,400 state houses over the next four to five years and another 2000 transitional homes, that is not enough to keep up with rising demand. That demand is driven by escalating house prices, rents increasing faster than incomes, and a dire undersupply of affordable homes.
The Government says the growing wait-list is partly because it is not turning anyone away, while previous governments applied more discretion.
The new homes are part of the largest house-building programme since the 1960s, in which 5000 state houses are being replaced by 25,000 homes in Auckland - a mix of public, affordable and market homes.
The scale of the construction, while much-needed, has upset a few communities along the way.
Some housing advocates are upset at the ratio of affordable houses to houses which are sold on the open market. In one of the largest developments, in Māngere, 2700 state houses are being demolished for 3000 new state houses and 7000 private homes.
In its defence, the Government says selling homes on the open market allows it to fund further development, and that building large blocks of public housing concentrates poverty - leading to ghettos.
Advocates have also expressed concerns that mixed developments can lead to gentifrication, which breaks up people's social networks as they are priced out of the area.
Kainga Ora must find homes for the original state housing tenants while the sites are redeveloped. The Government has previously said that most of the New Lynn tenants were rehoused within other Kainga Ora properties.