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Labour: When Landlords Go Bad

Labour: When Landlords Go Bad

ACT New Zealand Housing Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today accused the Labour Government of being New Zealand's worst landlord, in light of new information revealing that rent owed by some Housing New Zealand tenants exceeds $12,000.

"Answers to my written Parliamentary Questions show that Housing New Zealand rent arrears are at ludicrous levels - as of May 30, the amount of rent owed by previous and current tenants totalled $1,655,073," Dr Newman said.

"The highest amount of rent owed by current tenants is $12,568 and, by previous tenants, $15,490. This is outrageous. No ordinary landlord would allow rent arrears to grow to these levels. These figures are an indictment of the Labour Government's ability to properly manage its rental portfolio on behalf of taxpayers.

"Many Housing New Zealand tenants are beneficiaries, who are unable to cope with debt. ACT has lobbied since 1996 for the Government to allow rent to be deducted from the source - that is before benefits are paid into the recipient's bank account - so that, if they do get into debt, at least they do not lose their home.

"Yet Labour has dragged its feet on this issue, with the result that - in some cases - overdue rent is now reaching crisis levels. Housing New Zealand must act now, to enable those tenants who have the greatest difficulty in budgeting to have their rent deducted at the source so they do not run up huge debts.

"Further, the Government needs to assure taxpayers that all rental debts will be collected in full," Dr Newman said.

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