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Cabinet must move on million-dollar state houses

Phil Heatley MP
National Party Housing Spokesman

16 December 2007

Cabinet must move on million-dollar state houses

It’s a scandal that Housing NZ is still sitting on million-dollar houses and refusing to sell them until tenants move out, says National’s Housing spokesman, Phil Heatley.

He is commenting on reports that Housing NZ has finally admitted it has million-dollar state houses.

“In fact, they have seven worth $8.6 million, which they are selling, in the Auckland suburbs of Orakei, Freemans Bay, St Heliers and Herne Bay, but many others they are going to sit on until the tenants move out.

“The sale of these seven houses alone could buy 23 replacement state houses even at average Auckland prices. That would re-house the seven current tenants and get 16 more families off the waiting list.

“The sale of that seven should have happened years ago when I first raised the issue.

"As with other million-dollar houses, Housing NZ says it can’t sell them without Cabinet permission, so the Labour Cabinet has the solution in its hands.

“They could change the rules if they wanted to, but they say sit on them until the tenants move out. That could take forever, so why don’t they just re-house them?

“It’s been reported that the most any tenant pays for these properties is $84 a week, with tenants in one house - worth $820,000 three years ago - paying just $34.

“In the meantime, close to 10,000 desperate families are languishing on the waiting list, often in sub-standard houses.

“That’s a scandal, and one that the Cabinet must move urgently on.

“What makes this doubly unpalatable is the number of ordinary, hard-working New Zealanders who have no chance of owning a home worth even a fraction of the ones rented out at a substantially subsidised rate.

“We all support state house tenants having clean, comfortable and affordable accommodation. What we resent is the waste of taxpayers’resources when so many other families are struggling.”

Ends

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