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BBQ Idea A Gimmick - Should Not Distract Tenants

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FOR IMMEDIATE USE

Monday 17 January 2000

BBQ IDEA A GIMMICK THAT SHOULD NOT DISTRACT TENANTS FROM LOWER RENT PROMISE

The new Housing Minister’s proposal to give state house tenants a barbecue for ‘good behaviour’ is a gimmicky solution to a longstanding problem.

“It should not distract attention from that fact that Labour is breaking its solemn commitment to lower rents to state house tenants by July”, says National’s acting Housing spokesman Wyatt Creech.

“Thousands of families renting from the state have been promised cheaper rents by July by the new government. Restoring income related rents is one of Labour Leader Helen Clark’s seven commitments she pledged to New Zealanders before the election.

“Since lack of money is the justification this policy, the Minister should have looked more seriously at the request to give state house tenants that looked after their properties a week long rent holiday rather than a barbecue.

“The problem these tenants face is not the lack of a barbecue, it’s shortage of money. “It is far better to give these tenants a real incentive, not a gimmick. If the new Minister is serious about helping tenants a week long rent holiday is a real incentive.

“These tenants are among the poorest of families in the country. They want real help from the government, not a pat on the head and a little gift for the back yard. “While incentives to encourage people to look after their houses are not of themselves a bad idea, this very gimmicky approach should not distract people from Labour’s commitment.

“The public also should be told what this ‘barbecue’ idea will cost. I suspect it’ll be a drop in bucket in comparison to any real relief.

“If the Minister can’t deliver on his party’s key election promise to introduce income related rents by July, he should be honest with state house tenants.

“If tenants are depending on this new Minister for help it looks like their trust is misguided.

ENDS

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