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Council rams through residential housing sales

14 March 2002

The refusal of Auckland City's Mayor, John Banks, to allow a council tenant to speak at the deputation speaking slot about the sale of general residential housing set in train increased anger from members of the public at the way he conducted last night's special Council meeting. Peter Cross, a tenant of over 20 years, whose home for him and his young children, is now in immediate jeopardy, had written to the Mayor for permission to speak but was refused. The right to speak is at the Mayor's discretion. There was no other person allocated a speaking slot, and John Banks could easily have allowed him to speak, especially in recognition of the seriousness of the key item on the agenda, the sale of general residential housing.

Last nights unanimous decision by Auckland Citizens and Ratepayers and Independent Councillors to sell its general residential housing stock was a shocking travesty of democracy. The sales process will start immediately. Although tenants have been given tenure protection until 31 March 2003, there is no protection against rent rises by any new landlord. There will effectively be mass evictions in the Freemans Bay area.

"Auckland Citizens and Ratepayers Now councillors are determined to blight the lives of the poor in order to feather the nests of the well off and those who blindly heed the raw capitalist model. Social values which have been taken for granted are in serious danger of becoming part of history if this Council is allowed to carry on like this. This is not the behaviour expected of a so-called civilised society in the 21st century."

General residential housing currently does not draw on the rates, and it is widely acknowledged that there is a serious affordability crisis in Auckland. On the Council's Combined Committees agenda on the 19th and 20th March next week is the report on the sale of pensioner housing. Expect similar treatment there.

For further information, contact Sigrid Shayer, Council Housing Action Group ph 3611517; and Peter Cross, Tenants Action Group, 378 9200 after 4pm

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