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Security At Last for Maungakiekie Pensioners

Security At Last for Maungakiekie Pensioners

Many Maungakiekie pensioners should sleep easier tonight knowing that the way is now clear for the government to take over ownership of Auckland City Council’s housing stock, Maungakiekie MP and Housing Minister Mark Gosche said today.

The Auckland City Council last night agreed to accept the government’s offer to purchase its housing stock. The offer involves nearly 1700 housing units, nearly all of which are pensioner rental units.

“Nearly 400 of these units are in Maungakiekie, including High Street Courts in Otahuhu, the Banks Road flats in Mt Wellington and the units on Ladies Mile, Ellerslie. I have met many of the residents of these units and I know how distressed they have been by the threat of sale that has been hanging over them in recent months.

“They now have the certainty and the security they deserve: they will not lose their homes. Affordable housing is a basic need of all New Zealanders. The government’s purchase of these units clearly demonstrates our commitment to meeting that need.

“I firmly believe that all councils have a vital role to play in providing housing for their communities. However if the government had not stepped in to purchase these homes the huge demand for housing in Auckland would have meant that these units were lost for those most in need forever.”

Mr Gosche said that once the sale was complete by 1 March next year, low income tenants will be eligible for income-related rents that would mean they pay no more than 25% of their income in rent.

“For some tenants this will mean a reduction in the amount of rent they are paying. Housing New Zealand staff will be visiting all residents in the next few months to tell them how to apply for an income related rent.” The purchase also means that many of the units will be upgraded. As well as the $83 million purchase price, Housing New Zealand is committing up to $75 million over the next five years to upgrade or replace rundown units.

Until March 1 when Housing New Zealand formally takes over ownership residents who have any issues about their units should contact the Auckland City Council as they do now, Mr Gosche said.

The government and Local Government New Zealand have now formed a working party to consider the long-term retention of local government housing throughout New Zealand.

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