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More state housing needed, not less: Greens

2 December 2008
More state housing needed, not less: Greens

The building industry downturn means National should invest in more state houses - not put a cap on them - says the Green Party.

"Putting a cap on state houses as indicated yesterday by Housing Minister Phil Heatley is irresponsible at a time of economic downtown," Green Party Housing Spokesperson Sue Bradford says.

"Not only will a reduction in state house build have serious health and other consequences for people already in dire housing need - it will also cause further dismay in the building sector.

"News today that builders and related trades have already been hard hit by the recession just goes to show that National should be increasing the rate of state housing build, not reducing it.

"During the election campaign Mr Heatley made it clear that National was committed to selling off some state houses, to be replaced by others.

"However, I was not aware of an unequivocal commitment to capping state house build and acquisition. On top of that I don't think anyone knows what the cap might be.

"At the moment Housing New Zealand still has long waiting lists for existing houses, and increasing numbers of people are in urgent housing need."

The Green Party calls on the Government to urgently:

* Accelerate state house build and acquisition

* Immediately implement new state housing projects in Hobsonville, Weymouth, Takanini - and elsewhere.

* Go ahead with the $1 billion Green Homes Fund to insulate cold houses and cut energy bills.

"Investing in state housing and in retrofitting existing homes will help keep New Zealanders in work as well as meeting urgent health and housing needs," Ms Bradford says.

"We need more houses and we need more healthy houses. One should not be at the expense of the other as Mr Heatley seemed to be saying yesterday."


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