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More State Houses Not The Answer, Minister

More State Houses Not The Answer, Minister

ACT New Zealand Housing Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today demanded to know whether Housing Minister Steve Maharey intended to simply build State houses for every single person who applied for Housing New Zealand assistance, after media reports revealed that HNZC is to add 2,406 new State houses to its Auckland housing stock.

"Answers to my written Parliamentary Questions show that, as of the end of January 2004, at least 55 State houses throughout the country had been occupied by the same tenants for over 40 years - and 17 of those for more than 60 years," Dr Newman said.

"Is it any wonder that we have people waiting for State houses? When will the Minister get it through his head that the only answer to HNZC's waiting lists - which had over 6,000 people `at risk' or in `serious need' of a State house at the end of April 2004 - is time limits, not more and more State houses?

"HNZC was established to provide temporary housing to needy families who, once on their feet, would move on and make room for the next family. But this isn't happening - and who could blame them? Who wouldn't want to live a champagne lifestyle on a beer budget?

"The Government's refusal to set time limits on State houses is leaving people with extraordinarily cheap rent - in Auckland alone, houses worth more than $700,000 being rented for as little as $40 a week - for life.

"How can Labour fail to see that it is failing New Zealanders on three fronts: leaving vulnerable families and whanau without a home, trapping others into State housing, and forcing hard-working taxpayers to support them.

"Introducing time limits is at the hard end of managing the housing portfolio, and it is time the Minister did the job he was elected to do. Otherwise, Mr Maharey's legacy will be a nation over-run by State houses, workers overburdened by high taxes and even more families left homeless," Dr Newman said.

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