A Great Team

June 12, 2015 is my last day at Housing New Zealand.

I am extremely proud of my team (past and present) and what they have achieved over the last 3 years, under various changes in management, group structure and the omnipresent political and media environment.

I can confidently say I leave the property development management team in a great space for the future. However, ALL the credit goes to the team I happened to be nominated ‘manager’ for. The team’s hard work means architects around New Zealand are leaving no stone unturned in design, we are pretty much joined at the hip with Councils around the country – especially the HPO in Auckland, resource consents are being pumped out, we are invigorating asset and tenancy management with placemaking concepts, financial feasibilities are positive, investment business cases are making sense, framing is going up and homes are being delivered!

Specifically, I point to these notable achievements that the team, of course with the help of many others at HNZ, have delivered and continue to deliver on:

  1. 399 Manchester, a private public partnership with Legacy, creating a truly mixed tenure apartment development within the four avenues of Christchurch.
  2. The merit award at Property Council for the Garrison Henshaw aged resident apartment project built by NZ Strong.
  3. Minor redevelopment ( infill and tranche 3) programme of 250 homes under Auckland’s operative plan.
  4. The design and deliver factory that is now the Special Housing Area Redevelopment Programme for another 500 homes in Auckland.
  5. Together with the Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Team, the factory that is now the infill housing programme for 700 homes in Christchurch.
  6. Our regional programme with projects in Hamilton, Tauranga and kick starting the regeneration of Maraenui in Napier– a subdivision built at record speed, cutting through all bureaucratic tape.
  7. Getting that first significant board decision to start  civil works  for what will be 500 plus homes at McLennan in 2012 and now building homes and selling superlots to increase affordable housing in Auckland.
  8. Sealing the deal with Willis Bond on the Lake Pupuke Drive mixed tenure apartment project in Takapuna.
  9. Regenerating the socially challenging suburb of Pomare in the Hutt Valley in another private public partnership.
  10. Long term divestment, refurbishment and redevelopment solutions for earthquake prone apartment complexes around New Zealand including substantial apartment tower blocks in Auckland and Wellington.
  11. Our role analysing aged care solutions and the retirement sector as part of MBIE/Treasury’s Social Housing Reform Project.
  12. Establishment of the Auckland and Christchurch developer and builder panel.
  13. Overhaul of the 100% HNZ owned projects design-build contractor procurement process to make it more commercial.
  14. Comprehensive assessment of  Auckland CBD potential apartment development holdings.
  15. Significant Auckland suburban land holdings regeneration analysis.
  16. The Wellington CBD apartment development strategy and implementation – with four exciting apartment projects currently in design.
  17. Working with Tamaki Redevelopment Company kick starting what will now become their development programme.
  18. Demolition of what only can be called some of New Zealand’s most brutal past attempts at social housing.
  19. Process creation that is working to enable continuous improvement.
  20. Many more successes, too numerous to list.
  21. There were also a number of false starts and abrupt changes in direction – these learning opportunities have added to the collective IP and will contribute to eventual success.

It has been enjoyable working with the vast number of consultants, developers, builders and other social housing providers involved in our projects from all around New Zealand. The secrets I believe to a good and profitable relationship with Housing New Zealand are:
– Be flexible, acknowledge it’s a different beast and changes do happen. There is a strong desire and government mandate to be fair to all suppliers which often manifests itself in rigid rules. There are so many stakeholders to consider and ambiguities to navigate that are not typical in the private sector. However, if you are prepared, do your job well, stick at it and add value and save money you will get there.
– Balance the bright ideas and innovation with hard work and practical detail; don’t forget the detail, especially regarding infrastructure!
– Don’t take a contract for HNZ or the expert employees, that work with a passion and extremely hard at HNZ for granted.
– Understand that HNZ exists to house New Zealand’s most vulnerable – our tenants are our business. It is incredibly pleasing when architects, consultants, contractors and developers really attempt to understand the complexities of the HNZ tenant. That is when real solutions come to fruition and the entire corporation provides buy-in.

I thank the three managers I have reported to past and present at HNZ – I am the better from being under each of their tutelage and did my best to have our team perform to their stretch expectations. I really appreciate the opportunity to have worked with my compatriots in the ADG leadership team and I also thank those advisors whom have provided our team with a huge injection of commercial acumen and experience from different perspectives.

Finally and most notably I look back on each of my team members professional and leadership growth. We started with a hands off private public partnership approach on all projects – our role was to be the client and enlist and rely on the collective industry wide expertise of the development community.
I leave now as the development managers are individually responsible for the entire development process from site due-diligence and design, through to consenting and construction. Despite the obstacles thrown at this team – from internal red tape to political changes in direction, to external audits and sometimes what appears to be rewriting the rule book – the HNZ property development management team pushes on, backs itself and is a force to be reckoned with. These guys know their stuff.

Cheers and thanks guys. Go build some houses !

Andrew Crosby
Former Manager (Property) Development Management at Housing New Zealand
+64 21 982 444


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