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National should leave Housing to Labour

8 September 2004

National should leave Housing to Labour

Housing Minister, Steve Maharey, has chastised the opposition for deliberately misinterpreting figures on vacant state houses.

Earlier today National's housing spokesman David Carter said the 12 hundred vacant properties demonstrated that the government's housing policy was a complete disaster.

"That is a ridiculous assumption. The Labour Government has increased the numbers of state houses so significantly that there are now 63,855 throughout New Zealand. The majority – 760 - of the 1234 homes presently vacant are either still being built, or undergoing modernisation or repairs," said Steve Maharey.

424 houses under development - properties being finished or modernised These are properties being made ready for occupancy.
336 houses vacant for repairs Properties being repaired and modernised.
36 houses vacant for sale Properties located in areas of low demand where the proceeds of sale will be used to buy homes where they are needed.
438 houses vacant to let Properties waiting for tenants – this represent some 0. 6% of the total number.
Since 1999 this Government has modernised and improved the energy efficiency of state houses as well as continuing to work in partnership with community organisations and local government to increase the overall supply of housing for low-income people.

"Despite what Mr Carter says the waiting list for those most in need is declining. The average number of high priority applicants in the last three months (4481) is down 564 from what it was in the last quarter of 2003 (5045).

"This government has been cleaning up the mess left by National. It beggars belief that, after having done their best to destroy state housing, the National party think they have any credibility in criticising this Government's efforts to repair the damage they left.

"When National left office, there were only 57,421 state houses and 1,381 of them were vacant. Of the 1,381 vacant, a whopping 738 were on the market for sale. It was only the election of this Government that stopped those houses joining the almost 13,000 properties they had already sold. National had plans to sell many many more to the highest bidder."

"Mr Carter should keep his head below the parapet because every time he sticks it out he simply exposes what an abject failure National were and would be again," Mr Maharey said.

Key state housing achievements:

Since 1999, the Labour Government has added almost 4,000 homes with another 3,000 to be added over the next three years. Over 70% of these will be in Auckland where need is greatest. 889 homes have been modernised with an additional $60 million dollars being added in budget 2003 to accelerate this programme. Over 5000 homes have had a complete energy efficiency retrofit. At least 2,500 more a year are planned for the next decade.

ENDS

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