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Greens: Housing at crisis point for many

28 August 2008

Greens: Housing at crisis point for many

News that increasing numbers of families in the far north are being forced into mortgagee sales should be a wake up call to Government and all political parties about the seriousness of the current housing crisis, the Green Party says.

"I am particularly concerned by reports that in Kaitaia it is often the Far North District Council forcing mortgagee sales for failure to pay rates," Green Party Housing Spokesperson Sue Bradford says.

"This bears a close resemblance to the land grabs of the past when Maori whenua was seized on the same or similar grounds.

"As families find it more difficult to cope with rising food, fuel and utilities costs, mortgage payments fall behind, and people who have struggled for years to keep their home suddenly lose everything they've got.

"The desperate situation for families in the far north and other districts like the East Coast is compounded by the fact that it is so hard for tangata whenua to build houses on their own communally owned land, and by the unwillingness of Housing New Zealand to build or acquire enough state houses in these districts to meet demand.

"The Government's Social Report released this morning shows that housing affordability for Maori and Pacific households has worsened since 2004; that the household crowding rate for Maori is more than double that of the general population; and that crowding for Pacific people is quadruple the New Zealand total," Ms Bradford says.

"While the Green Party accept that places like South Auckland have a much longer waiting list in terms of sheer numbers, this doesn't mean that people in places like Gisborne, Kaitaia and Kaikohe aren't desperate for housing too. People often simply can't afford to rent in the private market, and if they do they can find themselves in overcrowded and substandard conditions.

"The Green Party knows that for far too many people, especially Maori, Pacific people and low income beneficiaries and workers, the lack of safe, affordable, healthy housing is at crisis point.

"We will be putting forward a wide range of concrete solutions to this crisis when we launch our housing policy for the 2008 Election at a meeting in South Auckland next Monday night."

(7.00pm Otahuhu Community Centre, High St, Otahuhu).

ENDS

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