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Government committed to future of state housing

20 June 2005
Media Statement

Government committed to future of state housing

The government remains committed to the revitalisation of state housing in New Zealand, Housing Minister Steve Maharey said today.

Speaking at the launch of We Call it Home: A History of State Housing, Steve Maharey said Labour was proud of its long record of supporting social housing and was crystal clear about its intentions for the future.

"We're proud to be the party that introduced state houses for New Zealand families in 1937," Steve Maharey said. "As this excellent new history reminds us, state houses have a special place in New Zealand's society.

"For nearly 70 years, state housing has provided New Zealanders with affordable, quality accommodation. State houses have also provided vital financial security for hundreds of thousands of families."

Steve Maharey said that from their earliest days in government in 1999, Labour has been fully committed to revitalising state housing after a decade of radical sell-offs and neglect.

"National sold 13,000 state houses during the 90s, leading to long waiting lists and more families pushed below the poverty line. From day one in government our mission was to restore the vital role played by state housing in our communities.

"We've already increased the number of state houses by 5,700. This year we provided 1,000 new state houses and we'll provide another 1,000 in the coming year. We'll continue our successful income-related rents policy that is lifting thousands of New Zealanders above the poverty line."

Steve Maharey said the government's $134 million social housing boost in Budget 2005 was clear evidence of Labour's continued support for state houses. He said it was time for Don Brash to tell New Zealanders what a vote for National would mean for state house tenants and their communities.

"If we're going to have an honest debate on housing in the upcoming election, Don Brash needs to front up with his plans. The 200,000 New Zealanders who live in state houses deserve to know what a vote for National would mean for their families."

ENDS

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