Kāpiti Coast mayoral candidate Gwynn Compton says the news Kāpiti Coast District Council is slowing down its housing sale while the family involved can be found suitable accommodation is a clear sign that Council needs a new focus on people rather than just balance sheets.
"Since I first publicly raised the issue of council selling houses it owned three weeks ago, there's been a groundswell of community support to put the brakes on this sale and for Kāpiti Coasters to not be forced out of their homes in the name of Council debt reduction," says Mr Compton.
"We're all under no illusions that Kāpiti Coast District Council is in a tight financial situation, but forcing families out of the district who have lived here for generations to get a very small reduction in Council debt isn't what Kāpiti is about."
Gwynn Compton says that if it wasn't for the work done behind the scenes by friends and advocates on behalf of the tenants, combined with the public outcry, a long-term Kāpiti Coast family could have been made homeless in just a few weeks' time
"With many families being squeezed out of Kāpiti by worsening housing and rental affordability, another addition to this exodus has only been avoided thanks to work by friends and advocates of the family and the strong public opposition to the sale," says Mr Compton.
The issue of housing and rental affordability will be front and centre this election with urgent action needed as the clock ticks towards Transmission Gully's completion.
"It's been a year and a half since the Kāpiti Coast Communities Housing Taskforce handed its report over to Council and we're yet to see any meaningful progress on their recommendations. The Kāpiti Coast Communities Housing Taskforce produced valuable work, but if it's not turned into urgent action on the ground then it will all be for naught.
"With surplus NZTA expressway land becoming available, KiwiBuild in need of quick wins to meet its ambitious targets, and the Government aiming to rapidly increase the number of social housing places, there's plenty of opportunities and central government support available to address this issue. We all know making a dent in housing and rental affordability won't happen overnight, but Kāpiti's families literally can't afford any more time to be wasted in responding to this crisis," says Mr Compton.