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State Rents Slashed In Time For Christmas

18 November 2000

State Rents Slashed In Time For Christmas But State Tenants Must Apply


Housing Minister Mark Gosche has released information revealing that some low-income tenants could be more than $4000 better off each year when market rents are scrapped next month.

"When income-related rents are restored more than 58% of all state house tenants will be between $20 and $80 better off at the end of every week," said Mr Gosche.

"I know the extra dollars will make a huge difference in the lives of many low-income families and children who have endured huge hardship in recent years."

"Our figures show us that more than 130,000 people living in state houses nationwide will benefit when we deliver on a key election promise and restore income related rents."

"This is a way Government can and should act to support those in serious need," said Mr Gosche.

From December 1, 2000 all state house rents will depend on a tenant's income. Low-income tenant's will pay no more than 25% of their income on rent. A new social policy allocation process will also be used from next month. The new policy delivers on a key election promise – two years ahead of time.

Statistics New Zealand figures have revealed that universal market rents imposed by the previous Government saw state rents rise 106% from 1992-1999 while inflation rose 12%. Private rents rose during the same period rose 23%.

Rising rents coupled with a dwindling stock of state houses left thousands living in overcrowded, non-maintained properties.

"In addition to income-related rents we are also spending $118.5 million repairing thousands of state houses neglected for many years, this is $28.1 million more than the previous Government."

However Mr Gosche stressed that state tenants who receive accommodation assistance from the Department of Work and Income New Zealand must apply for an income-related rent because the assistance will cease on December, 1.

"More than 50,148 tenants have already applied but there are still some who haven't, I would like to urge all tenants to do so."

Mr Gosche said that there were more than 3,500 state tenants who were not receiving accommodation assistance who applied and discovered that they were entitled to a cheaper rent.

"No one is going to be worse off under income related rents as long as everyone applies for their new rent. That's why everyone needs to apply and swap over from their Accommodation Supplement to their new income-related rent."

Mr Gosche commended Housing New Zealand who at the busiest times during the past two months were receiving 1000 calls and applications per day. They managed to maintain an average processing time of merely one week.

"We've had an overwhelming response and Housing New Zealand and Department of Work and Income staff have provided a first-class service and I would like to thank them for their hard work."


HOUSING NEW ZEALAND NEIGHBOURHOOD UNIT AVERAGE $ BETTER OFF PER WEEK
Auckland Central $59.61
Blenheim $30.42
Dunedin $20.95
Fanau Housing $21.67
Gisborne $24.83
Glen Innes 49.03
Hamilton 32.29
Hastings 21.28
Henderson 52.07
Huntly 20.26
Invercargill 13.24
Levin 21.03
Linwood 26.54
Lower Hutt 35.37
Mana 30.40
Manawatu 24.42
Mangere 45.56
Manurewa 44.73
Mt Albert 58.00
Mt Albert proper 49.00
Mt Roskill 52.13
Naenae 35.11
Napier 22.94
Nelson 30.50
New Lynn 47.82
New Plymouth 22.66
HOUSING NEW ZEALAND NEIGHBOURHOOD UNIT AVERAGE $ BETTER OFF PER WEEK
Otahuhu 44.54
Otara 41.94
Panmure 54.65
Papakura 40.24
Papanui 30.26
Riccarton 30.36
Rotorua 29.94
Royal Oak 43.81
Takapuna 50.26
Tauranga 41.61
Te Kuiti 22.46
Thames 26.75
Timaru 14.10
Upper Valley 29.87
Wanganui 19.41
Wellington 44.12
West Coast 16.69
Whakatane 27.44
Whangarei 27.58

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