$3m HNZ office refurbishment 'not extravagant'

$3m HNZ office refurbishment 'not extravagant'

Housing New Zealand (HNZ) is planning renovations worth $3 million, but they won't include new kitchens for state houses - the work will be to the corporation's offices.

A number of homes on Seddon St in Wellington's Naenae are owned by the Government, but no one can live in them because they're in desperate need of renovation.

But HNZ is renovating elsewhere - it's forecast to spend $3 million on its office renovations over the next year.

Labour says that's not on.

"I think most people would think it's on the nose for the Government to spend $3 million refurbishing its offices at the same when they are sending people to live in garages and sheds. It's not on really," housing spokesman Phil Twyford says.

But HNZ says its office renovations are actually cheap in the scheme of things.

"Every brass cent that we spend is spent making sure that our tenants and their families have good lives in warm safe and dry houses," says a HNZ spokeswoman says.

"We don't look to extravagantly spend, we don't look to extra spend anywhere other than where it's needed."

When compared to the average government agency spend - which is about $1600 per square metre - HNZ comes in well under, with renovations costing less than $1000 per square metre.

And it also budgeted $3 million for renovations last year, but only spent half of that.

Over the next two years HNZ will spend $2 billion on building new homes and the state-owned enterprise is spending on renovations to state houses too.

"On average, around about $8000 per house on our warm and dry programme things like new carpets curtains heating ventilation," the spokeswoman says.

But the number of people needing homes just keeps rising.

Figures released on Friday show last year there were 1600 people on the waitlist that urgently needed a house. This year, that number has jumped to almost 2500.

And Mr Twyford says that doesn't even paint the full picture.

"It's important to realise that the waiting list itself is not an indicator of the extent of need in the community. People turn up trying to get on the waiting list for a state house and they are routinely sent away."

The Government wouldn't talk to Newshub today - neither the Minister for Social Housing Paula Bennett or Bill English, the Minister responsible for Housing New Zealand would front.

It seems while Parliament is in recess the Government has gone on holiday and just wants to forget there's a housing crisis.