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Momentum Builds To Stop Housing Sales

7th May 2002

Concerns about Auckland City Council’s decision to sell all its public housing stock will be aired at a public meeting organised on 15th May by the Council Housing Action Group. These units will be lost to the private market at a time of increasing rents and property prices within Auckland city, and huge waiting lists with HNZ. Work done for Aucklands Regional Growth Forum indicates that with the projected increase in population and the subsequent rise in land values, existing affordability problems will increase by at least 50% over the next 15 years. Pensioners will be forced to relocate, sometimes more than once, in order to create a vacant site for sale. 250 pensioner units over 14 sites are due to be sold in the first 4 years.

The Auckland Citizens and Ratepayers Now councillors and Mayor John Banks have no mandate to sell as these issues were not laid out in their election manifesto. The housing stock is also regarded as a significant asset and the government has stated that the forthcoming amended Local Government Act will require a special consultation procedure for wide public discussion before any sales, back dated to 15 April. Auckland City Council is thumbing its nose at Government and displaying contempt for democratic practice by simply allowing a further 2 weeks for submissions on these items to the current draft annual plan consultation.

Speakers will include local and national politicians, secretary of Grey Power (Auckland), the president of the National Association of Gerontology, as well as the Pensioner Action Group and Council Housing Action Group. The meeting will be encouraging people to make their views known through the Council’s draft annual plan consultation process and the special consultation procedure.

The Council Housing Action Group is also organising a pledge campaign to support those pensioners who resist forced relocation from their homes. Maureen Alexander, of the Pensioner Action Group, will speak of her stand on the council’s forthcoming 65% rent increase. Even if tenants were eligible for the full amount of accommodation supplement tenants will be paying nearly 30% of their limited income on rent. “The Government has recognised that 25% of a low income is a fair amount to pay. On our tight budgets we cannot afford to pay any more. This is not how Council should be treating its older citizens. We have to fight against this,” says Maureen Alexander.

CHAG is affiliated to Wake Up Auckland, a coalition of groups and individuals opposed to the policies and direction of the new Council under Mayor John Banks, and deputy Mayor David Hay. Attached is the poster for the meeting.

Ends

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