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Housing Tenant Figures Raise Questions

Housing Tenant Figures Raise Questions About Strategy

The fact that a number of people have lived in the same Housing New Zealand home for about 60 years highlights the problem of an income-related rent policy, ACT Housing Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said today.

In response to Parliamentary questions asked by Dr Newman, Housing Minister Mark Gosche has revealed that two tenants have lived in the same Housing NZ property for 61 years, seven tenants for 60 years and another two for 59 years. The figures don’t include people who may have been Housing NZ tenants for a similar period but have changed properties.

Mr Gosche also revealed in response to questions that the average length of tenancy for a state house tenant was six-and-half years.

“While we don’t know the individual circumstance in these cases, the statistics do raise questions about the effectiveness of a housing strategy that enables people to stay put for very long periods. The original intention of state housing was to provide people with a short-term means of establishing themselves. Clearly this is not happening in a number of cases.

“For most of the past 60 years rents have been income-related, a policy that favours a few privileged tenants who can become effectively permanent residents in state houses. While it might be good for them it means that other needy New Zealanders cannot get a house.

“ACT wants to see introduction of state house policies which provide safe haven for all those in need, but also empower the individual to get out of the welfare trap and stand on their own feet.

“This information I have received suggests that it was a big mistake for the Government to reintroduce an income-related policy,” Dr Newman said.


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