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Hunt family’s plight tip of the iceberg

Hunt family’s plight tip of the iceberg

The plight of a Christchurch family living in a tent because they cannot find a place to live is just the tip of the iceberg, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“While Housing NZ says another 39 families are ahead of the Hunt family on its waiting list, the Government's own figures estimate up to 7400 people in Christchurch are living in overcrowded, temporary and substandard housing.

“This is unacceptable in New Zealand in the 21st Century.

“Today's report from the Human Rights Commission finds ‘high levels of psychosocial harm caused by the stress of community dislocation, financial distress, unresolved insurance claims, and poor or insecure housing’. The Commission's list of 33 recommendations should be a wake-up call for Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee and Housing Minister Nick Smith.

“That Canterbury is still in the throes of a housing crisis three years after the first quake is an indictment of Gerry Brownlee’s gross failure to put people first in the rebuild.

“The Government's hands-off approach to the Canterbury housing rebuild has allowed the post-quake shortage to continue on and on. After three years the residential rebuild is only just getting underway.

“While for many people the housing crisis in Christchurch is experienced as paying higher rents, delays to repairs, or finding it harder to buy a house. There are thousands of people facing hardship that is near to third world conditions.

“Labour will take a more hands-on approach to the residential rebuild. We will give Canterbury priority in the roll out of KiwiBuild, building 10,000 affordable starter homes over four years. We will establish a publicly-owned insurance company KiwiAssure to keep the overseas companies honest. And we will work with the Council, community and private sector to revitalise urban communities like New Brighton,” Phil Twyford says.


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