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Minister’s denials on housing 'squalor' questioned

Phil Heatley MP
National Party Housing Spokesman

2 April 2008

Minister’s denials on housing 'squalor' questioned

National Party Housing spokesman Phil Heatley says the Housing Minister’s categorical denials that HNZ is sending tenants to live in squalid Auckland boarding houses needs to be explained.

Yesterday, the Housing Minister rejected a Listener article that said HNZ tenants were being referred to the ‘rat infested’ boarding houses when state houses were unavailable.

“But I understand the Minister cannot know what individual staff at Neighbourhood Units are doing as far as trying to assist people in need of emergency housing. Furthermore, I understand that this is difficult to check because there is no paperwork or any record kept of which private housing providers people were referred to.

“I’m pleased that reports this morning suggest the Minister is ordering a report into this situation, but can’t help but wonder whether she should have called for a report before issuing yesterday’s denial.”

The Mangere boarding facilities are described at length in this week’s Listener. The article says ‘there is intimidation, terrifying violence and drug deals’ … ‘children are locked in their rooms for hours, days at a time’, and where flea bites, fungal sores and ringworm etch into children’s skin.

“The simple fact is that this is what Labour’s housing policies have come to. These sort of conditions are a manifestation of the housing supply shortage that Labour has been so reluctant to do anything about.

“Right now, New Zealanders are facing record housing unaffordability, forests of red tape and paperwork, high interest rates, increasing rents and overcrowding.

“So far, all of Labour’s much trumpeted housing initiatives have failed to address the big issues facing renters, home buyers and homeowners, such as interest rates, red tape and take-home pay.”

ENDS

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