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A celebration to mark 70 years of state housing

Rt Hon Helen Clark
Prime Minister of New Zealand
Hon Chris Carter
Minister of Housing
Hon Annette King
MP for Rongotai

18 September 2007 Media Statement

A celebration to mark 70 years of state housing

Today’s 70th anniversary of state housing in New Zealand highlights how an inspired policy from the First Labour Government in 1937 is still helping many New Zealand families, Prime Minster Helen Clark said today.

The Prime Minister, Housing Minister Chris Carter, and Cabinet Minister and MP for Rongotai Annette King today marked the milestone anniversary with a visit to New Zealand’s first state house at 12 Fife Lane, Miramar, Wellington. They were joined by relatives of the first tenants at the house, and the family currently living there.

Helen Clark said the anniversary marks an important turning point in New Zealand society when the First Labour Government, under Prime Minister Michael Savage, first began providing homes to New Zealanders.

“When David and Mary McGregor moved into this house in 1937, many New Zealanders were still feeling the effects of the Great Depression, living in inner-city slums without even basic sanitation,” Helen Clark said.
“The First Labour government recognised that a decent home was as important to families as education and health care.

“Provision of those fundamentals is still important today. Our Labour-led government has continued that commitment, adding 7372 state-owned properties in the last five years. That stands in stark contrast to the policies of National in the 1990s when 13,000 state homes were sold off, usually to private buyers as opposed to occupiers,” Helen Clark said.

Housing Minister Chris Carter thanked relatives of the McGregor family, David and Russell McGregor, son and grandson of the first tenants, for attending today’s celebrations, and current tenants, the Nysse family, for opening the doors of 12 Fife Lane for the event.

“What we do for those in our community who struggle to make ends meet says a lot about who we are as a society. The most basic thing we can do is house families in need.”

Rongotai MP Annette King said: "One of the reasons I have always been proud to represent this electorate is because it reflects the strong commitment of the First Labour Government to state housing, a commitment which remains as strong today as it was 70 years ago."


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