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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.
ends

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Gordon Campbell:
On First Time Voting (Centre Right)

For the next two days, I’m turning my column over to two guest columnists who are first time voters. I’ve asked them to explain why they were voting, for whom and what role they thought their parental upbringing had played in shaping their political beliefs ; and at the end, to choose a piece of music.

One guest columnist will be from the centre right, one from the centre left. Today’s column is from the centre right – by James Penn:

As someone who likes to consider himself, in admittedly vainglorious fashion, a considered and rational actor, the act of voting for the first time is a somewhat confusing one. I know that my vote has a close to zero chance of actually influencing the outcome of Parliament. The chance I will cast the marginal vote that adds to National or Act’s number of seats in Parliament is miniscule. The chance, even if I did, that doing so would affect the government makes voting on a strictly practical level even more spurious as a worthwhile exercise.

But somehow I have spent a large amount of time (perhaps detrimentally so, depending on the outcome of my upcoming exams) agonising over how to cast my first vote in a national election. More>>

 

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