Former Prime Minister Sir Bill English to lead review of Kāinga Ora

The Government has announced Sir Bill English will be leading the independent review.
The Government has announced Sir Bill English will be leading the independent review. Photo credit: RNZ

Story by RNZ

The government has confirmed an independent review into Kāinga Ora, the government's social housing landlord, to be carried out by former prime minister Sir Bill English.

The review panel will also include Simon Allen and Ceinwen McNeil. The review will report back to government by the end of March.

Housing Minister Chris Bishop announced the move in a statement on Monday, while fronting the media at the weekly post-Cabinet media briefing.

He said the review would cover Kāinga Ora's financial situation, procurement and asset management, saying he was deeply concerned about its operating deficit.

"It is critical that Kāinga Ora is focused on efficiently building social houses for people in need while also delivering value for taxpayers' money, and this review will be able to provide recommendations to ensure that these objectives are being met," he said.

"The Crown Entity has total assets of $45 billion and annual expenditure of $2.5b ... a recent report by the Treasury and Ministry for Housing and Urban Development found that Kāinga Ora's level of debt had grown from $2.7b in 2018 to $12.3b in June of this year.

"Advice released last year suggests that if Kāinga Ora continues on its current trajectory, their debt would reach $28.9b by 2033."

Since leaving politics, Sir Bill has started social sector businesses with his family and works as a commercial and not for profit director in Australia and New Zealand.

Allen led investment bank BZW/ABN AMRO in New Zealand for 21 years and helped deliver the ultrafast broadband rollout to New Zealand.

McNeil is president of non-profit consulting firms' organisation ACE NZ and has 25 years' experience as a strategy advisor.