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Labour confirms wealthy can stay - needy will wait

Phil Heatley MP National Party Housing Spokesman

16 March 2006

Labour confirms wealthy can stay - needy will wait

National Party Housing spokesman Phil Heatley is surprised that Labour confirmed today it is prepared to make the needy languish on state housing waiting lists while the wealthy can stay put.

In Parliament today, the Housing Minister confirmed that Labour has no policy to move people from state houses 'when they get to a certain income'.

"Thousands of Kiwis waiting for a state house will be disappointed that the Government is prepared to allow households earning $80,000 and $90,000 a year after tax, to occupy a house paid for by the taxpayer."

Mr Heatley has released figures this week showing that in some cases, state households were earning surprisingly high after-tax incomes.

"Labour confirmed to us today that, no matter what a tenant ends up earning, they will be allowed to stay indefinitely in a state house intended for the needy.

"Essentially, there is absolutely no incentive for these people to move on.

"This nonsense policy is a dead end. It leaves the Government in the position that it will have to build or buy a vast number of new state homes to satisfy demand and deal with the waiting list.

"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."

Mr Heatley says most Kiwis will also be shocked by the Government's inability to provide accurate income information, when state house rents are based on reliable earnings information.

ENDS

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