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National does Housing Minister’s work for him

Phil Heatley MP

National Party Housing Spokesman 19 November 2006

National does Housing Minister’s work for him

Chris Carter is only half-heartedly facing up to state house subletting scams after backtracking and misleading the public on more than one occasion, says National Party Housing spokesman Phil Heatley.

“Two high-profile incidents of illegal subletting and transferring of state house tenancies have been revealed in recent weeks, and the problem is only the tip of the iceberg.

“The Minister said in October these were ‘not isolated incidents... and appear to be arising regularly around the country’, but then did nothing to address the problem.

Yet, in answers to parliamentary questions last month about how HNZ monitors the degree of subletting, Mr Carter said he was ‘unable to provide the exact number, length of absence of tenants, and whether they were investigations’ and furthermore he was ‘not prepared to authorise such an undertaking’.

In complete contrast, recent media reports quote HNZ saying a central file of those found subletting state homes had never existed before because ‘the situation was very rare.’

"Now, in light of last week’s case in Christchurch, the Minister and HNZ have had a sudden change of heart.

"As National’s Housing spokesman, I get more callers anonymously dobbing in state house subletting scams than over any other issue. These people ring me extremely frustrated as their complaints to HNZ have resulted in no action.

“Mr Carter needs to explain why he and HNZ have suddenly decided that subletting has become such a widespread problem that it deserves a dedicated team of full-time investigators. If these scams are not isolated incidents, what has HNZ been doing up until now?

“We need more than just a snow job on this issue. We need a transparent process that will tell us how this investigative team is operating, what their findings are, and how they are dealing with those caught ripping the system off.

"Sub-letting is pushing taxpayer generosity too far in an environment where 11,500 people are languishing on the waiting list.

“National has no faith in Mr Carter's new-found enthusiasm for protecting the taxpayer’s $11 billion investment from those scamming the system at the expense of needy and desperate families.”


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