Housing: Who does what?

Housing and urban development: The challenges and our interest.

Roles and responsibilities

Note: Figures that follow are for 2020.

Kāinga Ora—Homes and Communities

Assets $32.9 billion (>66,000 properties)
Revenue $1.6 billion
Staff 1,975
  • Housing and urban development agency, which on 1 October 2019 brought together Housing New Zealand Corporation, HLC (Hobsonville Land Company, which was a subsidiary of Housing New Zealand Corporation), and the KiwiBuild unit.
  • The government’s lead developer for urban development, responsible for planning, co-ordinating, and carrying out large and small housing developments, including KiwiBuild, with the task of creating a diverse mix of public, affordable and market housing.
  • The 2020 Urban Development Act gives Kāinga Ora planning, land acquisition and development powers by providing a process for advancing specified development projects (SDPs). For SDPs, it allows Kāinga Ora to act as resource consent authority and levy targeted rates.
  • Manages the public housing estate, with responsibilities for maintaining, upgrading, and developing the stock.
  • Responsible for tenancies and supporting tenants to sustain their tenancies – the aspiration is to be a “world class public housing landlord”.

Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Revenue  $72 million
Administers $1.5 billion of non-departmental funding
Staff About 315

HUD is responsible for strategy, policy, funding, monitoring and regulation of New Zealand’s housing and urban development system. It has a system leadership role that includes:

  • setting strategic direction and supporting public and private parties to build thriving communities; 
  • long-term stewardship/kaitiakitanga;
  • policy advice; and
  • a purchasing function.

Ministry of Social Development

Revenue $1.2 billion (not just for housing functions)

> $1.7 billion of housing support payments (Accommodation Supplement)

> $220 million on Emergency Housing Special Needs Grants

Staff 7,970

The Ministry's core responsibilities are income and employment support for New Zealanders. It also offers support for those who struggle to access the housing market. 

Responsibilities include:

  • Assessing and offering entitlements to help cover accommodation costs. 
  • Assessing the need for public housing.
  • Administration of the public housing register.
  • Hardship assistance/emergency housing.

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment


  • The regulatory framework for New Zealand’s building system, rules and standards, and implementing legislation and regulation to enforce that legislation.
  • Regulation of rental system and tenancy support.


There are 78 councils in New Zealand and they vary significantly in the size and scale of their operations.


  • Setting direction for how and where growth and development will occur. Councils prepare a 10-year long-term plan, which sets out the long-term, integrated decision-making and co-ordination of council resources.
  • Exercising regulatory functions under legislation such the Resource Management Act and the Building Act.
  • Preparing district plans and giving effect to national policy statements.
  • Issuing consents to enable housing and urban development.
  • Providing physical infrastructure to their communities (transport and three waters but also for recreational and cultural activities).

Several councils also manage and fund social housing, although there is significant variation in how they do that.

Tāmaki Regeneration Company (Auckland specific)

  • Driving social regeneration in Tāmaki, including working closely with community, other public organisations, and the private sector.
  • Working with Kāinga Ora to ensure housing delivery in the Tāmaki redevelopment.
  • Managing social housing tenancies in the Tāmaki regeneration area.

Other agencies with an influence on housing and urban development

  • Enabling long-term planning and decision-making:
    • Statistics New Zealand Tatauranga Aotearoa
    • Land Information New Zealand
    • Ministry for the Environment
    • Department of Internal Affairs.
  • Advice on funding and financing:
    • The Treasury.
  • Physical and social infrastructure:
    • Waka Kotahi and Ministry of Transport
    • Ministry of Education
    • Ministry of Health and district health boards.

Next: Read about our interest in the housing sector