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$44M In Damage, Only $15M Recovered

$44M In Damage, Only $15M Recovered

Housing New Zealand has spent more than $44 million repairing tenant-damaged state houses, but only recovered a third of that sum since 1999, ACT New Zealand Associate Finance Spokesman Deborah Coddington revealed today.

"Answers to my written Parliamentary Questions have revealed that from 1999-2003, Housing NZ spent $44,663 ,575 repairing state houses damaged by tenants - yet has only recovered $15,335,898 from the vandals responsible," Miss Coddington said.

"This is unacceptable, and raises serious questions about where Housing Minister Steve Maharey's priorities lie. An embarrassed Mr Maharey blamed the previous National Government for tenants' destructive behaviour - despite this damage being done during Labour's term - when I raised the issue during Question Time in September.

"Despite bringing this appalling situation to his attention, the Minister has done nothing to address the problem. Working Kiwis - many of whom must rent or repay mortgages - will be horrified to discover that their taxes have been spent covering the $29,000,000 shortfall.

"Mr Maharey has let down taxpayers time-and-time again. I call on the Minister to take action and recover these debts. This is a scandal; if he's not prepared to seek prompt payment form the perpetrators of this damage - and spare taxpayers from forking out unnecessarily - then he should resign," Miss Coddington said.

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