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Clarkson contradicts Key on income-related rents

Hon Maryan Street
Minister for Housing

25 June, 2008 Media Statement

Clarkson contradicts Key on income-related rents

National MP Bob Clarkson today criticised the government’s policy of income- related rents for state houses, contradicting John Key’s previous stance and raising confusion about National’s plans, says Housing Minister Maryan Street.

Mr Clarkson attacked the cost of income-related rents during the social services select committee this morning, describing the subsidy provided to low-income tenants as a “shockingly high figure.”

The National Party was formerly opposed to income-related rents, but leader John Key indicated earlier this year that National had finally seen the light.

“We’ve made it clear that we will be keeping income-related rents as a policy,” Mr Key said.

“Mr Clarkson is National’s associate housing spokesman yet it appears he either doesn’t know what National’s state housing policy is, or that there is now some uncertainty about what it actually is,” said Maryan Street.

“More than 200,000 New Zealanders live in state houses and over 90 per cent of all tenants are on income-related rents. Mr Clarkson’s comments today raise serious questions about whether their tenancies would be secure under a National government.

“Flattening house prices in recent months have seen rents rising in a number of regions, which makes the prospect of National reverting to its old market rents policy even more concerning for vulnerable low-income state house tenants.

“Once again the public is left unclear about National’s actual policy position. It is also about time National came clean on whether it would maintain the size of the state housing stock, being rebuilt by the Labour-led government in the wake of the National firesales of the 1990s.

“Perhaps National plans to save money on income-related rents by slashing state house numbers again?” Maryan Street asked.


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