Boy at home with family

More housing for people in need

Public housing is for people who cannot access or sustain a tenancy in the private rental market for a range of reasons. MSD is working with Housing New Zealand, community housing providers and the wider housing sector to deliver diverse housing options for people in need.

Public housing

Public houses are properties owned or leased by Housing New Zealand (HNZ) and registered Community Housing Providers (CHPs) that can be tenanted by people who are eligible. Together they provide more than 66,000 housing places.

At the end of 2017:

  • there were 66,367 public houses
  • of these, 5,083 community houses are provided by CHPs
  • and 61,284 state houses provided by HNZ.

Most tenants in public housing pay an Income-Related Rent (IRR) which limits the amount of rent they pay to be generally no more than 25% of their net income. MSD pays Income-Related Rent Subsidy (IRRS)to registered housing providers to cover the balance between the tenant’s rental payment and the market rent for the property.

Housing New Zealand

Housing New Zealand Corporation (HNZ) is a Crown agent that provides housing services for people in need. Their vision is building lives and communities by housing New Zealanders.

HNZ focuses on the efficient and effective management of state houses and the tenancies of those living in them, in order to meet demand from MSD’s Social Housing Register. HNZ owns or manages around 64,000 properties nationwide, including about 1,500 houses for community groups providing residential services. More than 185,000 people live in our houses or flats. It isn’t just about getting a roof over people’s heads - HNZ also works closely with others to ensure tenants have access to good support services.

In addition to being a public housing provider, HNZ offers affordable housing products to make it easier for people to buy their own home such as the:

Community Housing Providers

Community housing providers are well placed to respond to the diverse needs of public housing tenants as they have close connections to the communities they serve. Many are specialists in social support services that can help tenants. Registered community housing providers can access the Income-Related Rent Subsidy (IRRS) for new housing tenancies. To receive the IRRS, community housing providers must first be registered with the Community Housing Regulatory Authority (CHRA).

The 2016 Purchasing Strategy

The 2016 Purchasing Strategy signalled that the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) is seeking an additional 6,400 public houses by June 2020. At the end of 2017, MSD had reached 74% of the additional houses required in the pipeline.

The Social Housing Purchasing Strategy sets out how and where we will acquire more than 6,400 additional social houses by 2020. It is based on detailed data about social housing demand nationwide.

Demand is high for one-and-two-bedroom housing; the traditional three-or-four-bedroom state house no longer suits most people’s needs.