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National’s shame: 40% rise in empty state houses

National’s shame: 40% rise in empty state houses

The number of state houses National has left sitting empty has increased by a whopping 40 per cent since January 2012, says Labour Leader David Shearer.

Statistics uncovered by Labour reveal the number of empty state houses has soared from 2633 in January 2012, to 3703 in May 2013, an increase of 1070.

“An increase of this size cannot be explained away by arguments about supply and demand. The Government is mismanaging its housing stock and its incompetence is leaving vulnerable New Zealanders literally out of house and home.

“Housing New Zealand has cited ‘a number of factors’ for its ‘elevated vacancy rates’[1], but a close look at the data shows that houses that are ready to rent make up almost half of National’s vacant houses.

“That’s a fail grade for Housing Minister Nick Smith and further evidence of systemic failure in National’s management of Housing New Zealand.

“In May 2013, there were 1,692 houses sitting empty,[2] while 4,696 New Zealanders were waiting on Housing New Zealand’s waiting lists. 1,290 of those waiting were in urgent need of assistance.[3]

“National’s plan to sell off state houses as a part of its botched redevelopment of Housing New Zealand has made matters worse, with houses vacant due to ‘pending sale’ up 94% between January 2012 and May 2013.

“What it comes down to is bad management. Our housing stock is our largest state-owned asset, it should be meeting the needs of New Zealanders, not the needs of Nick Smith and the National Party.

“Perfectly good state houses that are ready to let shouldn’t be sold-off or boarded up. They should be tenanted by New Zealanders who need them,” David Shearer says.

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