Habitat for Humanity talks housing solutions with Labour leader

Aug 11, 2016

Habitat for Humanity New Zealand has today met with Labour Leader Andrew Little to share ideas about housing in New Zealand. This follows a recent announcement that the charity is building 100 cyclone-resistant homes in the Pacific.

“With the right support, organisations like Habitat can work at scale to get people housed in the Pacific cyclone belt. We must do the same for people struggling with housing here in New Zealand too,” Habitat for Humanity CEO Claire Szabó said.

Ms Szabo said “unique and innovative” partnerships with the governments of both Samoa and Tonga have resulted in new government financing facilities for low-income and disaster-affected families. These had “revolutionised” access to simple, decent homes.

“Combined with Habitat’s signature volunteer programme, and just $100,000 of public fundraising, we will build 100 affordable, cyclone-resistant homes across the Pacific by year-end,” Szabó said.

She said the charity acknowledges housing-related challenges are different here in New Zealand, but believes inadequate housing and homelessness are “matters of social conscience”.

According to the organisation’s general manager in Auckland, Conrad LaPointe, “if we can overcome challenges in the Pacific, we can do the same here. Given the urgent and dire needs our people have here, it’s time to get innovative and figure out what can be done. ”

“Habitat has the capacity, track record and knowledge to increase housing outcomes for those in housing need. What is missing is the financial support to achieve this,” Mr LaPointe said.

Habitat for Humanity New Zealand is a non-partisan organisation that works with everyone who supports their vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live. According to LaPointe, meeting with political and business leaders, as well as churches, schools and workplaces, is all part of that mission.

“We welcome the interest and support of the Leader of the Opposition and appreciate his leadership on heating and insulation of rental homes in his current Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill,” Szabó said. Policy to support the community housing sector’s building programme by reinstating a recently cancelled capital grants scheme was also welcomed.

“We continue to advocate for better security of tenure for low-income families in rentals, and discussed solutions with Andrew Little,” she said.

Support Habitat for Humanity at www.habitat.org.nz


Further information:

  • Over 24 years, Habitat for Humanity has built more than 500 homes in New Zealand, supporting its tenants into home ownership. It has more than 200 families in its homes today.
  • The housing charity has a proven track record in building cyclone-resistant homes in the Pacific and built 900 homes in Fiji alone since 1991.
  • The 100 homes will be built in Samoa, Fiji, and Tonga, where New Zealand volunteers and local builders will work alongside the families to build new homes.
  • The 10-house build in Tonga is a first for Habitat and comes as a result of an historic agreement signed with the Kingdom of Tonga earlier this year.
  • Habitat for Humanity is also a disaster responder in the Pacific, and has helped with temporary shelter after disasters across the Pacific including in Fiji, Vanuatu, and Samoa.

For media enquiries, contact:

Claire Szabó
021 161 2969