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Two Housing Petitions Presented to Parliament

Two Housing Petitions Presented to Parliament

ACT New Zealand Housing Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman MP today presented two petitions to Parliament.

The first petition calls on the Government to require the Department of Work and Income to deduct rent at source if requested by beneficiaries.

"Many New Zealanders have trouble with money management. For those on low incomes on a benefit, budgeting can be very tough. Since many people in the workforce have their rent deducted at source, it is only fair that beneficiaries with the state as their paymaster are given the same opportunity as everyone else. This move would ensure that even if they did overspend their budgets, at least they would not lose their home.

"The second petition would ensure that Tenancy Tribunal orders directed against beneficiaries are upheld.

"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 property. When a ruling is made in favour of a landlord, they have to provide the court bailiff with their former tenant's new address. When a 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 addresses if the order is for a criminal offence rather than a civil one.

"Since the ACT party has a fundamental belief in upholding the rule of law, this petition requires the Department of Work and Income to provide the relevant information to officers of the court so that debts can be collected.

"This problem has been around for years, yet instead of sorting it out in the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill currently in front of Parliament, the government has chosen to ignore the issue. Not only that, but they are now fighting the Ombudsman who has been investigating for over a year and has just ruled that the Department must supply details of new addresses for debt collection purposes.

"I hope that on receiving these two petitions with 882 signatures, the Government will realise that it cannot continue to ignore these valid problems any longer", Dr Newman said.

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