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Maharey's Legacy: Hatchback Housing

Maharey's Legacy: Hatchback Housing

Tuesday 27 Jul 2004

Dr Muriel Newman - Press Releases - Social Welfare

So long as Housing Minister Steve Maharey is too afraid to make hard decisions, we will see more and more reports of families being forced to live in cars and vans over winter, ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader and Housing Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said today.

"Answers to my written Parliamentary Questions have revealed that, as of June 30 2004, a total of 12,317 people were waiting for a Housing New Zealand State house - over 37 percent of whom had been classified as `At Risk' or in `Serious Need'," Dr Newman said.

"The response to yet another written Parliamentary Question outlines the average period of time that an individual - or needy family - spends on Housing NZ's waiting list: around two months if the applicant is `At Risk', or just over six months if they are in `Serious Need'.

"Meanwhile, some families have remained in the same State house for over 40 years - around 55 throughout the country at the end of January 2004, in fact. Is it any wonder that we have people living in cars, without a real roof over their heads?

"The aim of State housing was to provide temporary accommodation for those in genuine need. But Labour's view is that it is now no longer a short-term safety net, but a way of providing cheap rent for life - in Auckland alone, houses worth more than $700,000 are being rented for as little as $40 a week. Is it any wonder that tenants are staying put?

"Once again the Minister and his Government are failing needy New Zealanders with the Housing NZ backlog and emergency accommodation shortage, forcing some families to live in cars while other spend decades in State houses," Dr Newman said.

ENDS

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