Bell Gully advises Wellington City Council on establishment of community housing provider

7 September 2023

Bell Gully is pleased to have advised Wellington City Council on the recent establishment of community housing provider Te Toi Mahana, which marks a significant milestone for the social housing sector in Wellington and Aotearoa.   

Wellington City Council has provided social housing in Wellington since the 1950s through its business unit, City Housing. To help improve the financial sustainability of its social housing portfolio, Wellington City Council decided in June 2022 to establish a community housing provider. Te Toi Mahana was established as a charitable trust in February 2023, and became a registered community housing provider in July 2023. As of 1 August 2023, Wellington City Council leased nearly 1,800 properties in its City Housing portfolio to Te Toi Mahana, and Te Toi Mahana is now responsible for running and providing tenancy management in respect of those properties and approximately 3,000 tenants. 

The establishment of Te Toi Mahana will enable:

  • increased supply of social housing in Wellington;
  • access to the government’s Income Related Rent Subsidy (IRRS) for new eligible tenants; and
  • improved financial sustainability of the City Housing portfolio.

To facilitate new social housing supply in Wellington, Wellington City Council agreed to provide Te Toi Mahana with approximately NZ$10 million of property and NZ$23 million of development funds. Wellington City Council will continue to undertake a major housing upgrade programme (HUP2) agreed with central government, and implement upgrades for Healthy Homes.

The Bell Gully team was led by corporate and commercial partner Angela Harford, and projects and real estate partner Toni Forrest. Assistance was provided from across the firm, including from lawyers Bridget Newman and Abigail May. Bell Gully was part of an integrated project team with Wellington City Council (led by Project Director and Chief Advisor to the Chief Executive Officer, Katherine Meerman), and KPMG as commercial and financial adviser (led by Jesse Phillips and Andrew Wade).

Partner Angela Harford said, “We are very proud to have worked closely with the incredible Wellington City Council team to support it with the establishment of Te Toi Mahana and provide our leading expertise in this area. The new arrangements will play a key role in providing quality and affordable social housing in Wellington and helping to ensure the long-term financial viability of Wellington City Council’s social housing portfolio.”

Wellington City Council’s Katherine Meerman said, “Our partnership with Angela, Toni and the Bell Gully team over the past two years has been exceptional. The team’s advice and support across all aspects of this transaction and their dedication to delivery have been instrumental in the successful establishment of a new entity that will deliver important outcomes for the city well into the future.”

Anthony Harper, led by partner Tim Barclay, acted for Te Toi Mahana.

Disclaimer: This publication is necessarily brief and general in nature. You should seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters dealt with in this publication.