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Maharey's Housing Double Standard

Maharey's Housing Double Standard

ACT New Zealand Housing Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today said that beneficiaries with private landlords deserve the same support from the Department of Work and Income as those who are Housing New Zealand tenants.

"Answers to my written Parliamentary Questions have revealed that 60 percent of all Housing NZ tenants have their rent paid directly from their benefit," Dr Newman said.

"That is 36,849 beneficiaries who, because the State is their landlord, `may consent to have their rent paid directly from their benefit at any time'. But should any of New Zealand's more than 300,000 beneficiaries rent from a private landlord, and want to have their rent paid directly, then the procedure is far more difficult - if not impossible.

"Further, answers to another written Parliamentary Question show that such a re-direction is only considered if the beneficiary can prove there is `good cause'. That means establishing there is a history of rent arrears, showing that the re-direction will enable the beneficiary to sustain the tenancy, or proving that there is no other viable alternative.

"This shows that the Government is applying two sets of standards - making it easy for those beneficiaries who are tenants of the State, while making it hard for those with landlords in the private sector.

"I am calling on Housing Minister Steve Maharey to apply the same standards to both. If a beneficiary has trouble budgeting, and wants their rent paid directly from their benefit to the landlord - to avoid debt or risk losing their home - then they should be allowed to do that with ease, irrespective of whether their landlord is the State or in the private sector," Dr Newman said.

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