Chairs' Report 2017-18
Chairs’ Report to Community Hui, 10 June 2018
Kia ora tatou katoa
It is almost 18 months since the genesis of the housing trust and six months since the first meeting of the trustees.
A lot has happened and sometimes things have taken longer than we would have hoped. Here are the main points from the past six months and the challenges we are planning to focus on in the next six months.
What has happened in the past six months?
We have focused on setting up the basics, getting processes in place, and building on the great efforts of the working group. Thank you to them for all the groundwork they have laid and their continued support. The trustees have come together as a diverse and committed group. It has been a privilege to be able to facilitate their work. Thanks in particular to Linda McLaughlan for the amazing work she does as our secretary.
We have agreed a financial policy and have settled on an overall approach to our work. We were conscious that there were many different ways we could be a community housing trust and discussed how we might decide on our approach. We turned to the ideas and concerns that emerged from the two community hui held in 2017 and set up streams of work to focus on the highest priority tasks that people had the most energy for. These streams of work are listed below. Our assumption is that, over the next year or so, it will be clear which of these streams of work offers the greatest opportunities, which are most pressing, and what actions seem to work and what have been less successful. In this way, we expect an overall approach to our work will emerge. Within this we are looking out for opportunities as they arise, whether properties to purchase, or to manage for rental, or issues and plans where we can advance the principles of affordable housing.
Streams of work
The streams of work chosen earlier this year are listed below. Some have made good progress and others are yet to spring into life. There are working groups for each stream and at least one trustee is involved with each one.
1. Supporting Ngāti Haumia to secure affordable housing and land
2. Supporting existing elderly residents to stay in the village – practical support
3. Understanding housing regulations, especially looking at multi-use dwellings / land
4. Partnerships – includes:
Ngāti Haumia and Ngāti Toa
Local and regional government - KCDC and GWRC, including housing taskforce
Other housing trusts and organisations
Government – Ministers, Housing NZ, NZTA, MBIE, Ministry of Housing, MSD
Home owners – holiday rentals, landlords, those looking to move out of the village, those looking to ‘build on the back’
Potential property owners who may want to rent their houses out
Social service agencies
Builders, lawyers, valuers, suppliers
5. Property management – ensuring secure long-term, affordable rentals
6. Policies, including how we identify and prioritise beneficiaries
7. Purchasing houses, including models for raising funds, co-ownership, rent-to-buy and so on
Our first house purchase
The need to purchase 148 Tilley Rd sparked the community into life and led to the formation of the trust. We owe a deep debt to our angel investors who stepped in and bought the house in January 2017 and agreed to hold it for a year. It has taken us longer than that to complete the purchase and our angels have become “the particularly patient angels of Paekākāriki”. The purchase by the trust will be formally completed in this coming week.
It took two rounds of fundraising to achieve this goal. Our first request drew in loan offers of more than $300,000. That was a fantastic effort. Then, after lengthy discussions, we were told by the bank (and then by others) that we did not have sufficient of a record or could offer them enough security to lend the additional $200,000 we were seeking. Because we were over the deadline to buy the house, we chose to go back to the community to borrow rather than engage in lengthy discussions with banks and other financial institutions. We were successful in securing the additional funds and so the property will be purchased using 100% local funds!
We are now set up to support the occupiers to live in the house for the next five years and then be able to buy it from the trust. The community lenders will be repaid at this point.
We are very proud of this first purchase and are grateful and humbled by the generosity of the community we live in.
We have a lead on another property in the village which is owned by the Kāpiti Coast District Council. The Council has to go through a process under the Public Works Act first, but we are quietly optimistic that we will be able to purchase this property for a reasonable price. We are also talking to GWRC about another property.
The second of the trust’s two objectives is to recognise and support mana whenua’s special connection to this land. One of our larger streams is working with Ngāti Haumia to enable them to develop housing options in the village for their hapū. This work involves investigating sites that could be made available and entering into discussions with Ngāti Toa. Ngāti Haumia have also expressed an interest in the possible development of a community marae in Paekākāriki, to provide an important social centre, meeting place and community resource for the whole community.
Kāpiti Coast District Council Long Term Plan and NZTA land
The trust presented its submission to the Kāpiti Coast District Council on its long-term plan. The central argument was that the Council could do much more on the issue of affordable housing than just studying the issue, as had been proposed in the Draft Plan. We listed eight affordable actions that could be taken by the council to provide leadership on the issue.
Three of the actions in our submission focused on lands held by the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) for the construction of Transmission Gully and the Kāpiti expressway. We proposed the Council:
Work with NZTA and other central government agencies to use land for affordable housing particularly those lands made surplus after the construction of the Kāpiti Expressway and Transmission Gully road.
Ensure a comprehensive community-based precinct plan is developed for the Perkins Farm property and adjacent lands currently held by NZTA…. providing for environmental protection and affordable housing and being completed before NZTA disposes of these lands; and
Use council-held rights of first refusal for NZTA lands that are appropriate for affordable housing as a means to enable community-led development of that land. This would include such sites as the south end of the ‘Tilley triangle’ and the former BP station on SH1.
There is more on this in the priorities listed below.
We have been reaching out, making connections and having conversations all over the place – with tangata whenua, developers, councils, government, funders, other trusts and organisations in the housing sector, landlords, architects, local groups – all manner of people and groups.
Priorities for the next six months
Within the streams of work we have identified four priorities that need our attention over the next six months. These are also issues that we would particularly like help with from members of the community. We will start this process by discussing these issues at this hui. Some questions to get us thinking are listed for each priority.
Setting clearer priorities and policies for who we seek to assist
As we come to own more houses or manage houses on behalf of existing owners, we will need to make decisions on who we assist. What criteria and process should we use in making these decisions?
As a guide to this discussion, here are the trust’s objectives and a brief summary of the issues that arose from hui in 2017.
The trust objectives are:
To help ensure a strong, diverse and connected community by assisting those people in need to access affordable and appropriate housing in Paekākāriki.
To recognise mana whenua’s special connection to this land.
Some of the issues identified through hui in 2017 included:
Keeping our diversity and the community we want to be.
Providing housing that is affordable and secure for families: Your children able to be here for their schooling life.
Ensuring our mana whenua can afford to stay in their village.
Ensuring that renters can live in the village affordably and with security of tenure.
Ensuring that cheap 1-2 bedroom housing is available that gives flexibility to people who need it.
Supporting our elderly people to stay in the village.
Making sure that stability can continue for people in the face of major life changes: Parental separation, death and redundancy should not be compounded by having to leave the village because you can't afford to stay.
Finding ways to support renters to move into home ownership.
Finding ways to use the existing housing stock better, to meet the needs of the community.
Ensuring our community members are able to afford to contribute to the community.
How do we represent these ideas in criteria for choosing which people to assist?
How much should we focus on the extent of people’s needs? What needs are most important to us? How do we compare and prioritise different needs, given it will be a complex decision?
How much might we recognise contributions to the community, if at all?
Do we need to consider capacity to purchase the house over time?
(This latter criteria raises questions about whether we want the trust to be the owner or manager of a growing portfolio of houses in the village or do we want to be able to turn some of these houses over by assisting people to buy them?)
How do we do this in a practical and efficient way?
Do we set up a subgroup to make these decisions? Would it include people other than trustees?
How might we deal with conflicts of interests in our small community?
How do we retain flexibility and also be able to take an holistic view?
How do we keep the process simple and easy for those seeking assistance?
What, if anything, can you do to help?
Perkins farm and adjoining land
The Perkins, Sang Sue’s, and adjoining properties were purchased by NZTA to build the Transmission Gully highway. We expect significant portions of these properties will eventually be disposed of by NZTA at the completion of the project. We also expect there will be a lot of pressure to change the rural zoning and develop these areas for housing. There are threats and opportunities here. It is our intention to get involved early in this process, with others in the community, to best meet the needs of our community for affordable housing, recreation, and environmental protection. As mentioned above, one way of doing this is the development of a community ‘precinct’ plan for these lands.
There are many constraints on developing more housing and in particular more affordable housing in Paekākāriki (for example, the sea, the railway line, Queen Elizabeth Park, and limits on the density of housing). Because of these constraints, the future use of the NZTA land offers the biggest opportunity in decades to enable additional housing to be developed close to the village.
While a plan for this land might generate a healthy debate, we are of the view that the rough identification of land for housing and environmental protection is unlikely to be difficult. The escarpment and hill land can be protected for conservation and recreation purposes, while also offering possible sites for wind turbines. Wetlands can be developed on the flood-prone lands and the margins of streams can be protected. This still leaves an area of relatively flat land from the Perkins, Sang Sue’s, and adjoining properties that could be a third or more of the area of the existing Paekākāriki village,(depending on how flooding risks are managed). Development of this land could meet a mix of community housing needs, provided any development is well connected to the village.
How would people like the trust to pursue this issue?
What opportunities do you see?
What would you like to see happen with these lands?
What concerns do you have?
What, if anything, can you do to help?
Property management opportunities
One way we might increase affordable accommodation in the village would be to manage properties for existing owners who want to support the aims of the trust.
Of the 900 or so properties in the village, around 100 are not occupied (or not occupied for much of the year) and around 100 are rental properties.
How would we identify supply and demand?
What incentives can we offer to existing landlords?
Practically, how would we be able to manage rental properties given we have no employees?
Would we take on long-term leases and sublet?
What are the risks and benefits of a property management service?
What opportunities can you see where the trust might be a property manager?
What policies would we need to develop?
What, if anything, can you do to help?
Where we can’t manage rentals, can we still make a difference for those who rent their homes in the village?
How do we influence existing landlords to keep rents affordable? To ensure security of tenure for tenants? To ensure houses meet WOF standards? Te let to locals in need?
Support for Ngāti Haumia
Ngāti Haumia lost almost all their lands in Paekākāriki many years ago. As part of the Ngāti Toa/Crown settlement there are small parcels of land that have been provided to Ngāti Toa in Paekākāriki. The trust is committed to supporting Ngāti Haumia as tangata whenua to meet the housing needs of their hapū, honouring their connection to the lands of their tupuna. We are looking at different options for meeting these objectives, including identifying properties where the provisions of the Public Works Act might be applied. Linked to these efforts, the possibility of establishing a marae in the village has also been raised, building on previous discussions over the years.
What land and properties offer potential to meet these needs?
What possible approaches can be taken?
What practical next steps are needed to take this forward?
Who can help?
What is the wider level of interest throughout the village regarding possible support for establishment of a community marae?
What, if anything, can you do to help?
Keith Johnston and Tina Pope