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We need new houses before new letterhead

30 June, 2004

We need new houses before new letterhead

The Green Party is questioning the Government's priority in establishing a new Department of Building and Housing instead of actually housing the growing number of New Zealanders who need help.

"We need more social housing before we need new letterhead," said Green Housing Spokesperson Sue Bradford. "It's commonsense to bring together the agencies providing building and housing services to the public, but it's more important to commit to building more houses right now for people to live in.

"One in three New Zealanders lives in rental accommodation and there are more than 12,000 families and individuals on the waiting list for state houses, council houses and community sector houses. Social housing as a proportion of the total housing rental stock is plummeting."

Ms Bradford noted that in 1991 total social housing stood at about a third of the entire rental market. By the 2001 census that had dropped to just 19 per cent of the total rental market.

"The declining proportion of social housing is pushing up rents for those in the private rental market and reducing access to income related rents for those who need it."

Ms Bradford said the Government's plan to acquire a miserly 1000 new state houses in the next year would do nothing to prevent this decline.

"Labour has been in Government since 1999 and can no longer just blame National for selling off 13,000 state housing units in the 1990s," Sue Bradford said. "C'mon Trev let's deal with the real issue - let's have more social housing and leave the new letterhead for later!"

ENDS

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