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Banks must honour affordable housing contract

Media Release
For Immediate release
Wednesday 12 December 2007

Banks must honour affordable housing contract

Six Auckland City councillors say that the attempt by Banks, Hay and their Citizens and Ratepayers (C&R) group to abort the affordable housing contract with the New Zealand Housing Foundation is an act of bad faith and fails to recognise the acute affordable housing crisis in Auckland City.

A report to the Auckland City Council meeting on Thursday will recommend slashing a $9 million council contract with the Foundation to less than $2.5 million.

The contract was signed before the election between Auckland City Council and the New Zealand Housing Foundation.  The Foundation is obligated to build a minimum of 100 homes within four years, which will be available for purchase by lower income working families.  McConnell Property Ltd is one of the supporting partners.

John Banks said during his election campaign that he would abolish the project. The six councillors are angry that Banks has wasted ratepayers' money on lawyers to scrutinise the contract to find a way out of it. The report to Council's Thursday night meeting states "A legal matter has arisen which provides council with the opportunity to renegotiate the programme agreement."

"Why on earth have we wasted ratepayers' money challenging a bona fide contract with the New Zealand Housing Foundation, particularly as this could result in court costs and compensation for breach of contract?" queries senior councillor Richard Northey.

"The reduced funding to the NZ Housing Foundation is simply because this new council is not prepared to play its part in alleviating the current critical housing situation in Auckland City."

"But this project has already attracted considerable support from Auckland ratepayers through consultation.  It has been through two annual plans and our long term council community plan."

The six councillors are calling on the council to continue to honour its $9 million commitment to the NZ Housing Foundation and to lower income working families in need of decent housing.

Cr Richard Northey
Cr Leila Boyle
Cr Cathy Casey
Cr Graeme Easte
Cr Glenda Fryer
Cr Denise Roche



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