Tararua District Council could sell off its Eketahuna pensioner flats to a social housing provider, opening up opportunities for government-funded rental subsidies for its tenants.

Eketahuna resident Joe Sweeney raised the issue for discussion at the Eketahuna Community Board meeting on Friday after "hearing rumours that our flats are up for sale".

Governance manager Richard Taylor said council had "not made any firm direction" toward selling the three Eketahuna flats, but that all options were being looked at.

"A lot of our flats are ageing now, they need upgrading, they need to meet the expectations of today's tenants," he said.


"This includes things like scooter sheds, wheelchair access and wet areas. Social housing providers can attract government subsidy for those things. Council can't."

Community board member Sharon Shannon said she was concerned that by selling the flats there would be "another disconnect between council responsibility and people that need those facilities".

"Yes they might go to another provider but that provider is not here, local, on the ground."

Assets group manager Kathy Dever-Tod said council's decision to sell off its housing portfolio was outlined in the long term plan but confirmed that council "hadn't progressed with any decisions with Eketahuna at this stage".

She said the decision was made following changes to the Social Housing Reform programme last year, which restricted local government access to maintenance funding.

"Selling off the council's housing portfolio to social housing providers is a better long-term option for the tenants of the flats," she said.

"Social housing providers can access government funding towards rental subsidies for their tenants, which a council can't do."

Tararua District Council's housing portfolio sell-off began last year with the sale of 10 flats in Dannevirke.

"If for some reason council doesn't find a suitable housing provider then they won't sell the housing," Ms Dever-Tod said.

"The council wants to be very clear on that."

The council still own 82 pensioner flats in the Tararua district, including three in Eketahuna, 52 in Dannevirke, 12 in Woodville and 15 in Pahiatua.