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Government Funding Of Private Housing Misguided

Wednesday, September 19 2001

ACT Housing Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman has criticised the government's Special Housing Action Zone (SHAZ) scheme as misguided. She believes that offering interest free, non-refundable payments of as much as $50,000 of taxpayers' money for people to spend on their own private housing is wrong, and sees it as a blatant vote buying exercise.

"I've been amazed to find out through my written Parliamentary questions that the Government has already offered 70 so-called loans of up to $50,000 on the scheme. These 'loans', for people to have maintenance work carried out on their homes, such as replacing collapsed verandas, rotting floorboards and the like, don't have to be repaid and are written off after three years.

"I am very concerned that this scheme, which has taken the Government desire to encourage state dependency to new heights, will send the wrong signals: someone who looks after their home is expected to spend their own money on maintenance, yet someone who lets their home fall into disrepair can go straight to the Government for free taxpayer funds to fix it.

"This is yet another example of the undermining of personal responsibility, with the government telling New Zealanders not to worry because the state will look after them whether or not they bother to look after themselves.

"The scheme is surely misuse of Housing New Zealand money. Here we see taxpayer's money being thrown at private property, while families with urgent housing needs sit on Housing New Zealand waiting lists, and state houses sit empty waiting for repairs", Dr Newman said.

Ends

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