Eight state houses will be built in Rotorua by June as part of a new regional development initiative.

Up to 155 new state houses will be built in 15 regional centres by the middle of this year, Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford announced today.

"This is the first step in building more new homes to help those most in need in our regions. In total, it will build more than 270 bedrooms for individuals or families in the areas where they are needed most.

"Housing NZ will build these modern, warm and dry homes on its vacant land and on its larger properties. They will mostly consist of one or two bedroom homes, with some larger homes."

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Twyford said work would begin on the houses this month.

"These homes will be low maintenance, fully insulated, and have carpets, curtains and double glazing.

"It's expected that people will start moving in from mid-2018."

Twyford said this was the largest building initiative Housing NZ had undertaken outside the main centres in decades.

"If we want to reduce homelessness, we must build more state houses.

"If more state houses had been built in the past decade, we would not have the levels of homelessness we do today."

New state houses will be built in the following regional centres
Far North - 10
Rotorua - 8
Whakatane – 8
Napier/Hastings – 49
New Plymouth – 6
Whanganui – 7
Palmerston North – 11
Nelson / Marlborough – 20
South Canterbury – 19
Dunedin – 14
Invercargill – 3
*As Housing NZ continues to move through the planning process, these numbers may change.