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HNZ resists transparency

Phil Heatley MP National Party Housing Spokesman

22 June 2006

HNZ resists transparency

National Party Housing spokesman Phil Heatley is disappointed with an 'ill-advised' outburst by Housing New Zealand Chairman Pat Snedden at the Social Services Select Committee.

"Mr Snedden appears to believe that investigating legitimate questions by an MP and the committee is a waste of time.

"He appears to have forgotten that it's actually his job as chairman to answer questions from MPs who are interested in protecting the taxpayer's $11 billion state housing investment.

"If Mr Snedden feels that answering questions is a waste of time, perhaps he should rethink his position as chair."

Mr Heatley says he has encountered a culture of resistance at HNZ when it comes to answering questions about its operations and the management of its housing stock.

"The Minister has turned away countless requests for information. He simply refuses to ask HNZ staff to pull the information together, even though in many cases, HNZ has the information on file.

"This is not the new transparency and accountability that Labour once promised."

Mr Heatley fears that Chris Carter doesn't ask because he doesn't want to know.

"If HNZ had been providing reliable answers to questions on state house tenant incomes, boarder numbers and vandalism, and if the Minister hadn't been forced to correct answers in Parliament on 'what' the chairman knew 'when' over the gagging clause, I would not be so suspicious.

"But too many mistakes are being made. Mr Snedden and the Minister need to be accountable," says Mr Heatley.


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