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Minister must come clean on subletting rorts

Phil Heatley MP
National Party Housing Spokesman

16 November 2006

Minister must come clean on subletting rorts

National Party Housing spokesman Phil Heatley says Housing Minister Chris Carter should say whether he retains confidence in Housing New Zealand as yet another alleged subletting rort comes to light.

“Housing New Zealand says it only started investigating the latest case in Christchurch late last month. That was about the same time National started asking questions about the subletting of taxpayer-funded homes.

“It was also about the same time that revelations of a subletting situation in Auckland surfaced. At the time, Chris Carter confirmed the Auckland case was not isolated, but he has so far refused to answer questions that would help identify the scale of the problem.

"How is it that the media can identify properties where this is taking place but HNZ can't?

“Mr Carter will now have to work pretty hard to dispel the perception that he’s more interested in protecting himself from negative headlines than exposing the abuse of taxpayer generosity.”

Mr Heatley says there’s no question that the subletting of taxpayer-funded properties is a serious problem that deserves more than the “stonewalling we’ve seen from Mr Carter.”

"As National’s Housing spokesman I get more callers anonymously dobbing in state house subletting scams than with any other issue. Subletting is rife.”

Housing New Zealand’s been in the gun throughout the year on issues including undeclared boarders, high income earners occupying state houses and skyrocketing vandalism.

"But subletting is pushing taxpayer generosity too far in an environment where more than 11,500 people are languishing on the HNZ waiting list.


Unanswered Parliamentary Questions on HNZ subletting

Question 15192: How many Housing New Zealand Corporation listed tenants in each neighbourhood unit advised the Corporation of an absence from their residence of greater than 31 days in the 2005/2006 financial year; how many of them consequently assigned, transferred, sublet or parted with the tenancy?
Portfolio: Housing
Minister: Hon Chris Carter
Date Lodged:19/10/2006
Answer Text: Housing New Zealand Corporation has advised me that its tenants are not permitted to assign, transfer, sublet or part with their tenancies. Tenants who do so would be in breach of their tenancy agreement.

Question 15186: How many Housing New Zealand Corporation owned or managed properties were found to have been illegally occupied in the 2005/2006 financial year in each neighbourhood unit; how many of the illegal occupations resulted in prosecution of persons?
Portfolio: Housing
Minister: Hon Chris Carter
Date Lodged:19/10/2006
Answer Text: Housing New Zealand advises me that it does not keep this information in a manner that can be easily retrieved.
Those illegally occupying Corporation houses are asked to leave. If they do not leave, the Corporation uses the available remedies through the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 to remove them. This is also my answer to question 15193.

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