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3,000 People Awaiting Needs Assessment

The number of people on the waiting list for a needs assessment to get on the waiting list for a state house has topped 3,000, National's Housing spokesperson David Carter revealed today.

Documents obtained by National under the Official Information Act show that the number of households awaiting needs assessments to go on the waiting list for a state house have been at an average of almost 3,500 over the past four months. The waiting list for the waiting list was at 2,976 on 30 April.

"The worst hit areas are Henderson and Mangere with 241 and 261 respectively waiting to go on the waiting list.

"Housing Minister Mark Gosche is being dishonest with New Zealanders by trying to hide information relating to the state house waiting list. I have attempted to get these needs assessment figures for months but have been given the complete run-around.

"I finally obtained this information under the OIA, after the Minister of Housing unequivocally stated, in replies to a number of my written questions, that this information didn't exist or wasn't available.

"National warned the Government that waiting lists would sky-rocket when income-related rents were introduced. In the end, no amount of list reorganisation or refusals to answer questions will be able to get away from that fact."

Mr Carter said that even HNZ's Chief Executive is predicting a steep rise once everyone has been processed. Documents reveal that Housing New Zealand Chief Executive Michael Lennon warned HNZ Directors on 28 March 2001 that 'There is an apparent decline in waiting list numbers. This is simply a consequence of transition and the waiting list will rise steeply once the old priority list is processed'.

"The waiting list will increase. Every low-income New Zealander has the right to be treated equally whether they live in a state house or rent privately. The Government however has taken away that right so low-income families are left with no option but to apply for a state house," David Carter said.


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