What Is Housing New Zealand Trying To Hide?
Phil Heatley MP
National Party Housing Spokesman
2 January 2008
What is Housing New Zealand trying to hide?
Revelations that a senior management job at Housing New Zealand is so sensitive that details have been blocked from ministerial briefing papers are unbelievable given the number of scandals the troubled department has already been through in the past year, says National's Housing spokesman, Phil Heatley.
The briefing papers for incoming Housing Minister Maryan Street have blocked access to the name and role of a person filling a position called 'project director' under the Official Information Act.
"What is Housing New Zealand trying to hide? This is a senior role, with the person reporting directly to chief executive Dr Lesley McTurk .The structure of the public service should be the most basic of information.
"This is the department that lets state house tenants in Porirua put up with mould and damp while spending $2.8 million to do up just 19 other state houses at $150,000 a pop and admits that 6,298 of the almost 10,000 people on the HNZ waiting list will never be housed.
"Is the secret squirrel senior manager overseeing Labour's election year housing affordability strategy? In times of genuine concern over politicisation of the public service there should be transparency over their identity and their role.
"Five years down the track, Labour's housing affordability strategy has been exposed as a dismal failure, so rather than shroud the matter in secrecy they should do the blindingly obvious.
"Drive down the cost of land by freeing up more for subdivision, fix the Resource Management Act and Building Act which are adding tens of thousands of dollars of unnecessary and bureaucratic costs to building, and put more money back into the pockets of first home buyers so they can service a mortgage through tax relief".