Auckland and Queenstown are the first centres out of the blocks where locals will be able to access a government scheme aimed at helping people into property ownership.

Housing Minister Megan Woods today announced the first two providers - Housing Foundation in Auckland and Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust - under the $400 million fund which will help low to median income households onto the property ladder. She said more providers in other centres will be named soon.

"The fund will focus on areas where housing affordability is most severe, with a strong preference for new houses to build supply," Woods said in a statement.

"It will help up to 4,000 families who could not otherwise afford home ownership. We expect to see the first group of families in their own homes by November."

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The fund was part of the Green Party's supply and confidence agreement with the Labour Party in forming the government, and comes in the run-up to the Sept. 19 election. The Green Party launches its campaign proper tomorrow in Wellington.

"This fund means more low-income families who have been locked out of the housing market will finally have a chance at owning their own home," Greens co-leader Marama Davidson said.

The fund will offer ways to make housing more affordable, such as through shared ownership where a household buys out their partner over time, renting to buy, or a leasehold arrangement.

To qualify

Applicants must be older than 18, must be a first-home buyer or 'second chancer', must be citizens, permanent residents, or resident visa holders, have a household income below $130,000 and be able to secure a commercial mortgage and have some money for a deposit.

According to a Q&A accompanying the release, the government expects funding will be available to a wider group of providers later this year, and will be scaled up once the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development designs a scheme that will be directly available to households. That's expected to be ready sometime next year and led by Kainga Ora.

The government has ramped up efforts to address housing affordability as the election looms. On Wednesday, Parliament passed legislation empowering Kainga Ora to undertake urban development functions.

Yesterday, ministers Phil Twyford and David Parker released a national policy statement on urban development aimed at encouraging more infill housing in cities.

Parker has another national policy statement due this month to ensure productive land for food and fibre isn't used for housing instead.

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And today, Parliament passed legislation to set up special purpose vehicles as a means to help finance necessary infrastructure to support housing.

The government has been on the backfoot over its efforts to improve housing affordability with the failure of its flagship Kiwibuild programme to meet the over-ambitious targets set when Labour was in Opposition.