A specially tailored housing project for Hastings is almost a year behind target.
The Government promised to build 200 homes in the city by July 2021.
But nearly a year on, the project is about 80 houses short.
The government’s state housing arm – Kāinga Ora – is responsible for most of these new builds, and it has not been going quickly.
The original target was set in December 2019.
By December 2020, a year on, just 24 had been finished. As of the end of last month, 122 have been completed.
In a statement, Kāinga Ora regional director for East North Island Naomi Whitewood explained the reasons for the delays.
“Many of the developments have faced delays from Covid and supply chain pressure,” she said.
“Our build partners have worked hard to minimise the effect of these delays.”
Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga help whānau, in their words, move up the poutama, or staircase, of housing in Hastings – going from emergency housing, to rentals, to ownership.
Its chairman Mike Paku said it had been difficult to keeping on top of the problem of whānau not being able to get into a suitable home.
“It just feels as though sometimes we’re treading water and struggling to keep up with the demand – the ever increasing demand.”
He thought the construction would never be fast enough to meet the demand, but said there was certainly work being done.
“We’ve just got to keep on building, building more and more social housing. It’s taken us 30-40 years to get into this position, it’s going to take us a decade or two to get ourselves out of this position.”
Hastings District Council chief executive Nigel Bickle agreed, saying it was tough to beat the growing demand.
“Very hard to get ahead of it – but you know, if you look at the fact that we’ve already delivered since we’ve been going, over 100 new social homes, a bunch of papākainga housing, we currently have something like 180 social homes under construction.”
And it was not predicted to get easier – he said under central Government policy statements, Hastings would have to build 7,000 homes in the next ten years to keep up with projected population growth.
“All of that’s putting the pressure onto how are we going to manage that growth, ’cause we know we can’t keep consuming greenfield space, and particularly as it relates to our fertile soils.”
This could lead to more medium-density housing around the Hastings CBD.
Housing Minister Megan Woods said December 2019, when the target was set, felt like a “lifetime ago”.
“I think you’d have to be particularly naive or have been not looking at what’s happening around the world if you thought that there wouldn’t be some disruption to those targets,” she said.
But she said this had not stopped the drive of the Government – or those doing the mahi.
“Nonetheless, the commitment by local people in Hastings, and tradies and businesses has meant that we are getting those houses on the ground.”
Many of the homes under construction, around 116 of them, are due to be finished by August.