“Kainga Ora is spending quarter of a million dollars of taxpayer money every month to lease an apartment building, only to leave half the flats completely unfilled. They’re burning taxpayer money without even doing their job,” says ACT Deputy Leader and Housing Spokesperson Brooke van Velden.
“Kainga Ora started leasing the 104 units at 11 Church Street in late 2022, following the planned demolition of the Dixon St flats. Since then the building has been largely unoccupied, only half full recently and only 10-20 per cent occupied most of this year. Considering the emphasis on housing vulnerable people following the Loafer’s Lodge tragedy, it’s hard to believe Kainga Ora has been sitting on so many empty units for so long.
“In total Kainga Ora has lost $3,512,151.67 since December 2022 on the unoccupied units between their lease costs and the market rent they have not received.
“OIA’d documents show the Prime Minister’s Office knew about the empty units, with correspondence to his office from the Project and Facilities Manager complaining about Kainga Ora’s inaction. The correspondence from May 2023 says:
“the government/KO have had 104 fully operational apartments all with appliances provided that have been leased (paying over $250k per month) since July 2022 and so far have less than 15% of them occupied… there are literally dozens of empty, clean, healthy home compliant apartments that KO cannot seem to prioritise to fill.”
“The Government has spent a fortune on these apartments just for them to sit empty. They’re failing taxpayers and they’re failing vulnerable people who need a roof over their head.
“The incompetence is mind-blowing. During a housing crisis, the New Zealand Government is leasing homes only to have them sit empty. New Zealand deserves better, New Zealand deserves Real Change in two months’ time.”