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Housing Pledge Kept

Housing Minister Mark Gosche said today he utterly rejected claims the government would break a key election pledge on housing.

"An article in today's New Zealand Herald that feigns some surprise that not all state tenants will qualify for rents set at 25 per cent of household income is misleading.

"The housing pledge on our commitment card said that Labour in government would 'restore income-related rents for state housing so that low income tenants pay no more than 25 per cent of their income in rent'.

"That is what we will do.

"We have always said that the people most adversely affected by National's crippling market rents policy would be targeted. Market rents have been a major cause of poverty in the past decade.

"The new policy will essentially restore the income-related formula that applied in the 1980s when Labour was in government. That system worked and was seen as fair.

"The Herald and National's housing spokesperson Tony Ryall are being less than sincere in suggesting an election promise is about to be broken.

"Labour has consistently made it clear that this policy will apply to low-income state tenants. Work on defining where entitlement begins is still going on. But I should remind the Herald and Mr Ryall that the accommodation supplement is also aimed only at low-income families," Mr Gosche said.

"I would also like to remind them that income related rents will be in place before the end of this year – well ahead of the three-year term we had originally planned for."

He also ensured Prime Minister Helen Clark's Commitment Card was distributed throughout the Parliamentary Press Gallery for their future reference.

ends

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