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Extra State Houses Will Feed Dependency Trap

Thursday 9 May 2002

ACT Housing Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said the announced extra funding for State housing is aimed at tackling a housing crisis created by this Government - and will only worsen the problem and create more state dependency.

"Waiting lists for State housing have soared since this Government removed market rentals from State houses.

"Because there is no mechanism for graduating people into their own homes there will never be enough houses. There is no incentive for tenants to ever leave state houses now - so they don't. The result is spiralling waiting lists as homeless people wait for houses that never become vacant.

"State housing was only ever supposed to be a short-term helping hand for the needy - not a lifelong cycle of dependence. The answer is not to pour more money into more houses. What is needed is regular monitoring of people in state housing, with assistance provided so that people can take charge of their financial affairs, save money and eventually move on.

"This Government has its housing policy completely the wrong way round. By saying it will spend more money on more houses it is simply luring more people into a life of dependency.

"Targeting more state housing in rural areas will just create a new underclass of rural dependents.

"Some people have been in state houses for more than 60 years. Official figures show that over 1000 have been in state housing for more than 40 years. The average duration of Housing NZ tenancies has risen to nearly seven years.

"This is a muskets and trinkets policy designed to shore up Labour Party support from certain low income and cultural groups.

"All today's announcement guarantees is that housing problems such as those currently seen in Auckland will get worse," Dr Newman said.

Ends

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