Kāinga Ora has spent $24,354,759 of taxpayers’ money over the past four years on office renovations.
The most significant expenditures took place during the last fiscal year:
- $230,661 went on panels
- $829,797 for a complete fit-up and renovation in Christchurch
- $5.5 million for a complete office fit-up in Newmarket
- $12 million for a total renovation of its Wellington headquarters.
“I think New Zealanders will find it hard to understand why this government is prioritizing multi-million dollar renovations for swanky new offices,” National Housing spokeswoman Nicola Willis said.
But when asked how bad the millions of dollars spent on office renovations are, Woods had a different perspective.
“It looks very good. It shows an organization rebuilding itself over a four-year period from an organization that had been reduced to a state house pushback agency.”
It’s a change of tone from Labor when it was in opposition in 2016 and Housing New Zealand spent $3million on office refurbishments.
“It’s just not really,” said then-Housing party spokesman Phil Twyford.
While Kāinga Ora spends millions on itself, it admitted in its last annual report that only 21% of its homes met Healthy Homes standards, meaning 54,000 homes failed.
“And yet, housing officials are prioritizing its office upgrades,” Willis says.
In a statement, Kāinga Ora told Newshub that he had spent $12 million on his Wellington headquarters because the organization had “undergone significant growth”, which required “appropriate and suitable office space for the business.” ‘use”.
Fit-up costs were “at the lower end of comparable public sector projects at $1,600 per square metre”.
“Houses don’t magically build and houses don’t magically renovate — you have to have staff to do that,” Woods says.
Office renovations are a hard pill to swallow for families desperately waiting to move into a home.
Keela, along with her partner and two children, are among the 25,000 currently homeless households on Kāinga Ora’s waiting list.
They were all moved to a hotel in central Wellington on Tuesday where Kāinga Ora is hosting families awaiting accommodation.
“I’ve been on the waiting list for about three years now,” he says.
He doesn’t want to be ungrateful, but he hates it. There is nowhere to park and in one week he received nearly $1,000 in parking fines that he cannot afford. Now her son has COVID-19.
“Since we arrived in Wellington, everything has been bad, everything is crap.”
Although yes, Kāinga Ora needs offices to work in, when the waiting list for a house is 25,000 households long – and almost 80% of state houses do not meet the government’s own healthy house standards – spending millions and millions on new offices seems completely disconnected.