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MP Launches Two Housing Petitions

MP Launches Two Housing Petitions

Wednesday 5 Jun 2002 Dr Muriel Newman Press Releases -- Social Welfare

ACT New Zealand Housing Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman MP tonight launched two petitions to Parliament.

The petitions call on the Government to enable the Department of Work and Income to deduct rent from beneficiaries so that they do not get behind in payments to landlords, and instruct the Department to provide required information on beneficiaries to an officer of the Court.

"The majority of the 40,000 applications every year to the Tenancy Tribunal are from landlords seeking justice from tenants who leave without paying the rent or compensating for damage to the property," Dr Newman told the Manawatu Property Investors' Association.

"The Government's activity in the housing area has completely ignored the concerns of private property investors. In spite of the private sector providing 70% of rental accommodation for families who don't own their own home their concerns fall on the deaf ears of Government.

Dr Newman's first petition asks the Government to enable the Department of Work and Income to deduct rent from beneficiaries' payments so that they do not get behind.

"Many New Zealanders have trouble with money management. For those on a benefit it can be very tough. To allow those beneficiaries who so choose, to have their rent deducted at source, would ensure that even if they get behind in some payments, they would not lose their home.

The second petition asks the Government to require the Department of Work and Income to provide relevant information on beneficiaries to landlords.

"When seeking money that is owed, landlords have to provide the court bailiff with the tenant's new address. When that tenant is a beneficiary, the Department of Work and Income refuses to provide that information to an officer of the courts. The Department cites the Privacy Act, even though they provide the address if the order is for a criminal offence rather than a civil one. The ACT party has a fundamental belief in upholding the rule of law.

"Sadly, instead of sorting out the problems that exist in the landlord-tenant relationship, the government has chosen to punish private property investors and landlords in the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill - currently in front of Parliament - by introducing significant new penalties and charges. It is because this government has chosen to ignore these glaring problems that we need to petition Parliament directly.

"I would ask that all of your members, colleagues, family and friends, support the petitions and at the ballot box, reject a Government that is ideologically opposed to the private sector", Dr Newman said.

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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