Mayor Gurunathan’s finding of two empty Housing New Zealand properties in Kāpiti won't hide two years of inaction and failed leadership from him on housing affordability and social housing, says Kāpiti Coast mayoral candidate Gwynn Compton.
“It’s been two years since Mayor Gurunathan called his housing taskforce together for what was meant to be urgent action to address housing affordability in Kāpiti, yet all he has to show for this are recommendations that have sat at Council for 18 months with no meaningful action happening on the ground, and his discovery of two empty Housing New Zealand properties - both which have been left vacant while accessibility and contamination issues are dealt with,” says Mr Compton.
Gwynn Compton has also called out Mayor Gurunathan’s passing of the buck when it comes to responsibility for social housing, noting that had the Mayor’s actions lived up to his promises, Kāpiti Coast District Council could have had social housing and housing affordability policies in place already through either the annual plan or long-term plan processes.
“It’s simply not good enough for Mayor Gurunathan to throw up his hands and kick for touch on taking any responsibility for worsening housing and rental affordability and the lack of social housing. Had the Mayor been sincere about his concerns on housing affordability and availability two years ago then he could have had this addressed through either the 2017 Annual Plan or 2018 Long Term Plan processes. Instead it’s looking like we’re going to have to wait until after this year’s Annual Plan before his Council even starts considering the community’s view on the issue,” says Mr Compton.
“Meanwhile, more and more families and older residents are being squeezed out of Kāpiti by worsening housing affordability and a lack of social housing. How many more people will be forced to leave while they wait for the Mayor to show leadership and act with even the slightest hint of urgency?”
Questions also remain about the Mayor’s own role in supporting the sale of council-owned houses in December, when housing affordability and availability is such a crucial issue for so many in Kāpiti.
“Mayor Gurunathan can’t have this both ways - feigning concern for housing affordability and social housing when he’s helped force a large family out of their home through a short-sighted council decision that he’s believed to have supported. This only serves to reinforce my call for a moratorium on any sales of council-owned houses until a social housing policy can be developed and implemented,” says Mr Compton.