Govt ignores housing crisis and ticks off deep cuts at Housing Ministry

Around one in five roles are being shed by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development despite the housing crisis facing the country.

“This is a significant loss of expertise that can only make the task of providing affordable, healthy homes that much harder,” said Fleur Fitzsimons Assistant Secretary Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi.

Final decisions delivered to staff today confirmed a loss of 26 roles, on top of disestablishing 52 roles currently vacant. This represents around 20% of the Ministry’s workforce.

The latest cuts impact the Strategy, Insight and Governance, Policy, and Organisational Performance business groups. Further cuts to other business groups are proposed for later this year.

At the same time, the Government’s social housing agency Kāinga Ora is proposing to cut a net 130 roles, an agency at the frontline helping to house New Zealanders.

The Ministry carries out a range of functions, administering laws like the Residential Tenancies Act, working with agencies tackling homelessness, helping Māori communities, and working with the private sector and councils to ensure urban development meets the needs of communities.

“This is vital work. But right now, the Kiwi housing dream is evaporating for many young New Zealanders so investing in the very Ministry doing the big thinking on our housing supply issues would make sense.

“Making the cuts through vacant roles spares some current staff, but it still represents a serious loss of expertise. These roles were considered important only months ago, but now to meet the Government’s demands, they will not be filled, which will have a long-term impact on the effectiveness of the Ministry’s work.

“These cuts will also add to the workloads of staff or simply work will have to stop. As well, the prospect of more cuts will only further fuel anxiety in the Ministry’s workforce. None of this helps the Ministry do its work well.

“The Government has made it a priority to tackle the housing challenge, so this is just another example of spending cuts clashing with its priorities. It underscores again how ill equipped the Government is to seriously meet the many long-term challenges this country faces.”

/Public Release. View in full here.