Needy in squalor while gangs housed 'sensitively'
Phil Heatley MP National Party Housing Spokesman
14 April 2008
Needy live in squalor while gangs housed 'sensitively'
Housing New Zealand is promising to house opposing gangs in neighbouring state houses 'sensitively', while desperate families live in "squalid" boarding houses just down the road, says National Party Housing spokesman Phil Heatley.
"There's something very wrong here.
"Housing NZ seems more interested in making sure opposing gangs are housed apart than they are with the plight of the many desperate families being forced to live in reportedly rat-infested and squalid private boarding houses nearby.
"The Minister should explain how her department set these priorities.
"And anyway, how on Earth can Housing NZ assure communities they'll house opposing gangs 'sensitively' when they haven't got a clue how many gangs the taxpayers are helping to support?"
The assurances were offered in HNZ's 2006/2007 Financial Review, but select committee questions reveal Housing NZ hasn't done any reviews of gang tenancies in at least two years.
HNZ has been under pressure from private landowners leasing properties to the government in its Weymouth development. Those landowners want assurances that their properties will be properly managed.
HNZ confirms that its policy is to house opposing gangs 'sensitively'.
"Housing NZ has always avoided direct answers about the number of gangs living in state houses, but now they're telling us they can house them 'sensitively'.
"I would like to know how many are they supporting.
"I accept that they may, knowingly or unknowingly, house gang affiliates from time to time, but that doesn't mean we should allow those gangs to congregate and cause trouble in a tenant's state house.
"At a time when there are close to 10,000 families on the waiting list, and when its third-party damage bill has been rising, Housing NZ must ensure that its tenancy agreements allow it to act decisively on disruptive elements."
Attached: Extract from HNZ Financial Review - 2 pages.