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.”


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Relevant Consents Gained: Government Unveils RMA Reform Package

The government has formally hauled down the flag on its attempts to alter the balance of environmental and economic priorities in the Resource Management Act, unveiling a 180-page Resource Legislation Amendment Bill containing reforms that have been largely endorsed by most political parties. More>>


Closing Schools And Such: Interim Redcliffs Decision Announced

“While the school’s board has argued that circumstances that could give rise to potential disruption are extremely unlikely, advice from technical experts has shown these concerns cannot be ruled out." More>>


Jane Kelsey: High Court Can’t Make Groser Provide TPPA Information Faster

‘This week we went back to court to challenge Trade Minister Groser’s stalling tactics over the release of information on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations, following a High Court order that he reconsider the Official Information Act request I made last January’, said University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey, first applicant in the case. More>>

Werewolf 58: No Climate For Change

The last time the global community tried to take collective action on climate change the world’s leaders finally came to agree that every not-too-onerous effort should be made to hold global warming to 2°C above the pre-industrial average. At Paris, all 150 participant countries nations will have put forward their pledges... On the information available, New Zealand's is the second weakest contribution of any nation in the developed world. More>>


Lambton Quay Shutdown: Object Was Made To Look Like Bomb

Police cordoned off part of Lambton Quay Wednesday afternoon, saying that a suspicious package had been found. Buildings were evacuated and buses were detoured. The army’s explosive ordnance disposal unit was brought to the Quay. More>>


Public Sector Still Shrinking: Record Low Number Of 'Backroom Bureaucrats'

Ongoing restraint in the public sector and a focus on better frontline services has seen a further reduction in the number of core Government employees, State Services Minister Paula Bennett says. More>>


Disobeying The Law: Police Censorship Of Crime Research “An Outrage”

The Green Party is calling on Police Minister Michael Woodhouse to ensure Police scrap controversial contracts that place onerous restrictions on academic researchers’ access to Police data, the Green Party says. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news