Waikato Housing Initiative appoints Aksel Bech as CEO 


The Waikato Housing Initiative co-chairs Lale Ieremia and Nic Greene have announced the appointment of a new chief executive officer Aksel Bech a long-term resident, business and community leader in the Waikato.

Aksel recently completed two terms as a Waikato District Councillor and was Deputy Mayor from 2019 to 2022. 

“Aksel has already had oversight of Waikato Housing Initiative’s activities through his role on the Waikato Plan for the past six years. That means he can hit the ground running at a time when the demands on our organisation are picking up.  We’ll benefit greatly from being able to tap into his experience at this crucial time,” Ieremia says.

The Waikato Housing Initiative (WHI) is a working group that includes representatives from across the housing spectrum.  It is working toward a vision of: “Every person and every family in the Waikato region is well-housed, living in sustainable, flourishing and connected communities.” 

In 2018, WHI completed a regional stocktake which established one source of truth for Waikato’s housing shortfall.  This stocktake is used extensively by regional authorities to enable discussions around boundaryless planning for optimal housing solutions.

“We are working together to change the current status quo of housing across the Waikato by leading, connecting and facilitating the delivery of affordable, quality and accessible homes in our region.  It’s the right time for the Waikato Housing Initiative to appoint a CEO who can lead the strategic partners and working group. We welcome Aksel onboard to take up that challenge,” Greene says,

Bech says he looks forward to working across the region and across sectors to create positive housing impacts.

“I am very conscious of the lack of affordable housing across our region and the effects felt by far too many people in our regional community.  The work of the Waikato Housing Initiative is crucial.  It looks to provide focused, local leadership and align local solutions that work for Waikato people.

“I am honoured and humbled to be given this opportunity of leadership for the Waikato Housing Initiative and look forward to making a positive impact.” 

Over the past five years, the Waikato Housing Initiative has worked with local authorities and developers to promote integrated, affordable housing as part of master planned communities.  This has included developing a ‘scorecard’ housing providers and developers use to assess their housing projects so they can more closely match the region’s vision and goals for housing outcomes.

Aksel Bech


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