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Housing Minister is on her own with denials

Phil Heatley MP
National Party Housing Spokesman

4 April 2008

Housing Minister is on her own with denials

National Party Housing spokesman Phil Heatley says Maryan Street appears to be out on her own in denying that her department is referring vulnerable New Zealanders to ‘squalid’ South Auckland accommodation.

“Now there have been two reports from separate media, claiming that Housing New Zealand has been referring vulnerable people to ‘squalid’ facilities in South Auckland. Yet the Minister continues to deny those reports.

“Who should New Zealanders believe - the residents who’re living in ‘rat infested’ conditions, or a Minister who is in full damage control?

“Surely, it can’t be a coincidence that those who’ve complained publicly suddenly appear to have been miraculously put in Housing New Zealand properties.”

Mr Heatley is referring to reports by the Listener and TVNZ’s Close Up programme, that tenants have confirmed being referred to the sub-standard accommodation by HNZ.

The Minister said last night ‘they haven't been advised to go to Kotuku Lodge … they are not advised to go there’.

“But I understand the Minister cannot know what individual staff at Neighbourhood Units are doing. 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.

“Maryan Street needs to clarify her public denials, to clear up the public perception that she is dancing on the head of a pin.”

Last night, Maryan Street also said ‘last week there were a couple of stories, ah, there was a story in the Listener, and, ah, one of the families that was named in that, ah, in that article, had got a house by the time that article even got into print’.

“If Housing New Zealand did not know these people were living there, how were they able to contact them and offer them alternative HNZ accommodation?

“This smells very fishy indeed.”


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