Housing New Zealand Restructure No 'Glad Game'
Spokesperson for Housing
13 February 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT
Housing New Zealand Restructure No ‘Glad Game’
The Government’s Pollyanna approach to the restructure of Housing New Zealand might read well, but New Zealanders are interested in the facts, not fiction, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Annette King.
Under questioning from the Social Services Select Committee this morning, Government Officials reported on the ‘progress’ made by Housing New Zealand in the past year.
Official advice suggests the waiting time for Housing New Zealand’s ‘smarter, fairer, faster’ 0800 call centre is down to two minutes.
“That sounds reasonable, but the call centre has been open for almost a year and I am still hearing accounts that contradict the department’s estimates,” Annette King said.
“Just last week I received a letter from one of Housing New Zealand’s contractors fed up with what he describes as the ‘disgraceful delays’ he’s faced (attached).
“Holding up contractors not only affects their business but it is also potentially hazardous to Housing New Zealand’s tenants.
“Contractors are business people trying to get in to fix leaking toilets, broken windows and blocked drains. A new system should have brought with it efficiencies, not lengthy wait times.
“The Committee also heard that vacant state houses were filled within 45 days. I’ve had reports that in areas like Wiri families are waiting much longer than that, with one property left empty for 102 days.
“The revelation that Housing New Zealand has built just 68 new houses in the last financial year is further proof the Government is mismanaging the corporation.
“There is an increased demand for housing, yet our most vulnerable families are going without.
“Finding something to be glad about despite the glum situation might serve a political purpose, but new Housing Minister Nick Smith is going to need to get his head around the facts if he is to turn this story around for state tenants,” Annette King said.