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Families stay in squalor - spare capacity at HNZ

Phil Heatley MP National Party Housing Spokesman

21 May 2008

Families stay in squalor - spare capacity at HNZ

Reporters Note: Regional figures attached

National Party Housing spokesman Phil Heatley says with reports of overcrowding and squalor, Labour is still failing to adequately manage the spare capacity in the state housing stock.

"Housing New Zealand has 1,108 houses with two or more spare bedrooms. This needs to be laid against a waiting list of almost 10,000 and reports that people are living in overcrowded and seriously unhealthy conditions.

"For example, vulnerable families are being forced to live in overcrowded and squalid Mangare boarding facilities where 'flea bites, fungal sores and ringworm etch into children's skin' when there are 38 state houses in Mangere and Manurewa with 38 tenants who live in houses with two or more spare bedrooms."

In 2005 there were 1,578 houses with two or more spare bedrooms. At that stage Labour was promising to better manage the housing stock.

"Yet two and a half years down the track, figures show that only 90 people have been proactively transferred to more size-appropriate accommodation, with the remaining 380 only gradually moving out with the natural passage of time.

"Given that overcrowding is rife amongst desperate families on the waiting list, Housing New Zealand needs to be much more proactive in better utilising state houses, better managing the space on large sections, and putting tenants in suitably sized properties."

ENDS


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