Helping more Kiwis find a place to call home


If you’re lucky enough to have a stable home that’s warm and dry, it’s better for your mental health; it’s better for your family; it means you’re better placed to be able to go to work; and your kids can continue going to the same school. It gives you a sense of security that’s so important. But, with the median house price now over $800,000, getting on the property ladder can be a real challenge.

That’s why we’ve teamed up with Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities to support a new initiative aimed at getting more first home buyers into warm, dry homes that stand the test of time. It’s called First Home Partner, and BNZ is one of two banks initially chosen to provide lending as part of the scheme.

First Home Partner allows those who have a minimum of 5% deposit, and who meet other qualifying criteria, to apply to Kāinga Ora for a contribution of equity towards a newly built home. It’s aimed at helping people who have a household income up to $130,000, but who are really struggling to reach the 20% deposit needed to get a loan straight from their bank.

Applicants are assessed on a case-by-case basis, and can get a maximum equity contribution of up to $200,000, or 25% of the home’s value (whichever is lower) from Kāinga Ora, with a BNZ loan making up the difference. As a result, these customers will share ownership with Kāinga Ora, with the aim of buying out the Kāinga Ora share, and eventually owning the home outright.

But we’re not just a lending partner. We’ve worked really closely with Kāinga Ora to help them shape and design the scheme, as well as draft the Shared Ownership Agreement, which is a contract between the Government housing provider and its customers.

Along the way, we’ve put ourselves in the customer’s shoes and thought: what’s important for them; what’s fair? We wanted to make sure the agreement had the answers to any questions customers might have. It outlines things like insurance responsibility; the timeframe for buying out the home; selling the property; time living in the property; maintenance and upkeep of the home – so it’s quite an in-depth agreement.

But supporting the First Home Partner scheme isn’t a one off. As a bank, we want to back more initiatives that try and solve housing affordability – one of our society’s biggest challenges. We’ve got the resources, skills, and experience to help, so we’ve got a pivotal role to play. We’re already working with the Housing Foundation and other community housing providers to fund and help build their own shared ownership programmes, and we’re putting in place the building blocks to do more.

Of course, the housing problem is complex, and a number of changes will need to happen before the issue is truly solved. But First Home Partner is certainly a great start. For individuals. For families. And for our wider communities.

To find out more about First Home Partner, go to

Any views expressed in this article are the personal views of Alicia Stenhouse and do not necessarily represent the views of BNZ, or its related entities. This article is solely for information purposes and is not intended to be financial advice. If you need help, please contact BNZ or your financial adviser. Neither BNZ nor any person involved in this article accepts any liability for any direct or indirect loss or damage arising out of the use of, or reliance on, all or any part of the content.

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