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State house vandalism skyrockets

Phil Heatley MP National Party Housing Spokesman

2 August 2006

State house vandalism skyrockets

National Party Housing spokesman Phil Heatley says Labour has completely lost control of the damage being done to state homes by tenants and their guests.

"It is the taxpayer who will pick up the tab for this, yet the Minister consistently says he is satisfied with the way the housing stock's being managed."

HNZ figures show the amount of tenant and third party (guest) damage is $20.5 million - that's nearly 40% higher than last year.

"The number of HNZ properties has increased by 2% in the past year, yet the amount of damage being done by tenants and their guests has increased by almost 40%.

"This damage is not maintenance, it is damage 'that is not the result of fair wear and tear ... but results from the action or inaction of a tenant or third party', according to HNZ's own definition.

"What makes this situation even more worrying is that the increase goes against the trend in the private sector, where the amount of damage being done is decreasing.

"The Housing Minister must explain why he is forcing thousands upon thousands of needy Kiwis to languish on the HNZ waiting list, while a growing number of those lucky enough to get a state house are causing millions of dollars in damage.

"Labour can't continue to turn a blind eye to this increasing taxpayer liability.

"Why has the damage bill climbed so rapidly? Are there adequate checks being done on tenants? And are there adequate sanctions in place for those who abuse the state house privilege?"

Mr Heatley says the first step towards fixing the problem would be for HNZ to adopt more regular checks on properties with tenants who have a history of causing vandalism and damage.

ENDS

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