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Carter must put HNZ house in order

Phil Heatley MP National Party Housing Spokesman

15 March 2006

Carter must put HNZ house in order

National Party Housing spokesman Phil Heatley is surprised that the Housing Minister has been unable to provide reliable figures on the amount being earned by those collecting a taxpayer subsidy by living in a state house.

"They charge rent on the basis of reliable income information. I'm astonished they don't appear to have it," says Mr Heatley.

Mr Heatley says not only has Chris Carter stonewalled attempts to get more information, but now he claims the material he has already provided has been wrong.

"According to his first set of answers, the highest after-tax income of a Housing New Zealand household was $205,000, but we were told this was a data error.

"Now, we hear that Mr Carter is saying the second highest HNZ household earnings figure of $113,000 after tax is also wrong.

"He's had a couple of weeks to correct it and is it just a coincidence that it's the top two figures which are inaccurate?"

Mr Heatley says the Minister has also refused to provide gross income figures on the basis that 'this would require a significant commitment of resources which I do not consider warranted'.

"It's odd that he can provide net figures, which have turned out to be wrong, but not gross numbers.

"The Minister is essentially telling taxpayers that a department which sets rent on the size of the tenant's income, can't be bothered working out how much its tenants actually make.

"Mr Carter should get his house in order," says Mr Heatley.

"Fair-minded New Zealanders have no problem helping those who are struggling to make ends meet, but that goodwill is likely to evaporate if Labour doesn't put the checks and balances in place to make sure taxpayers aren't being taken for a ride."

ENDS

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