Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Nick Smith – the worst vandal

Nick Smith – the worst vandal


Boarded up houses in Highbury, Palmerston North

Labour’s Phil Twyford says Housing Minister Nick Smith is the worst culprit when it comes to damaged and vandalised state houses.

“National’s policy of leaving state houses vacant for months on end makes them a magnet for vandalism and crime.

“In almost every town and city there are dozens of state houses lying vacant as a result of deliberate Government policy. Inevitably these empty properties attract graffiti and anti-social behaviour.

“The Minister has called for a crackdown on wreckers of state houses. Any tenants who damage state houses should be held accountable, but the Minister needs to look in the mirror first. His policy of deliberate neglect and leaving 3000 vacant houses makes him New Zealand’s worst state house vandal.

“A few days ago I visited Highbury in Palmerston North where dozens of Housing NZ properties are empty. The National Government’s neglect of these properties has brought downtown Detroit into the heart of Palmerston North. It is a policy of deliberate urban blight. It is doing damage to the community, and it is Housing NZ tenants and their neighbours who suffer the consequences.

“It is crazy that while 3000 houses lie vacant and boarded up, 4200 families languish on the waiting list. Because National made the criteria for state house eligibility so ridiculously tight, these houses lie empty while thousands of would-be tenants are driven into overcrowded and substandard private rental housing.

“While Nick Smith tries to look tough on state house tenants, his Chief Executive could not even tell a select committee hearing today how much of the $15 million bill for repairing state house properties in 2012 was spent fixing wilful damage. Most of the repair cost was attributed to fair wear and tear, fire, and natural disasters.

“Meanwhile 3000 state houses lie vacant, boarded up, and deteriorating. It is an asset that is probably worth half to three-quarters of a billion dollars. Housing NZ was unable to tell the select committee how much it is spending on security, how much on repairs, and whether they have done any modelling on the loss of value to the taxpayer of these houses sitting vacant , says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“National is running a valuable publicly owned asset into the ground. They don’t seem to care about the thousands of struggling families who desperately need a secure and safe roof over their heads.”

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Salvation Army On Homelessness: Hard Times In West Auckland

The report details an uncomfortable story of people whose only option is to live an unhealthy, dangerous and damaging street life... The social housing needed by these people is not currently available in sufficient quantity. More social housing is required in the West. More>>

ALSO:

Message For PM: NZ Supports Te Reo Māori – You Should Too

As Māori Language Week celebrations and commemoration of 40 years draws to an end, the Māori Language Commission, Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori, is once again hugely encouraged by the widespread support for Māori language from throughout the country ... More>>

ALSO:

Arming Police: Frontline Police To Routinely Carry Tasers

"In making the decision, the Police executive has considered almost five years worth of 'use of force' data… It consistently shows that the Taser is one of the least injury-causing tactical options available when compared with other options, with a subject injury rate of just over one per cent for all deployments." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On D-Day For Dairy At The TPP

While New Zealand may feel flattered at being called “the Saudi Arabia of milk” it would be more accurate to regard us as the suicide bombers of free trade. More>>

ALSO:

Leaked Letter: Severe Restrictions on State Owned Enterprises

Even an SOE that exists to fulfil a public function neglected by the market or which is a natural monopoly would nevertheless be forced to act "on the basis of commercial considerations" and would be prohibited from discriminating in favour of local businesses in purchases and sales. Foreign companies would be given standing to sue SOEs in domestic courts for perceived departures from the strictures of the TPP... More>>

ALSO:

"Gutted" Safety Bill: Time To Listen To Workplace Victims’ Families

Labour has listened to the families of whose loved ones have been killed at work and calls on other political parties to back its proposals to make workplaces safer and prevent unnecessary deaths on the job. More>>

ALSO:

Regulators: Govt To ‘Crowd-Source’ Regulatory Advice

A wide-ranging set of reforms is to be implemented to shake up the way New Zealand government agencies develop, write and implement regulations. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news