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Govt follows scorched earth policy on housing

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The Government is moving with indecent haste to sell off significant numbers of Housing Corporation sections before the election, says Labour housing spokesperson Graham Kelly.

Mr Kelly questioned today in Parliament the propriety of a campaign to sell 97 vacant sections nationwide.

"This is land designated for state housing being flogged off, including sections in areas of acute housing need like the East Cape," Mr Kelly says.

"The advertising says it is an opportunity for 'an astute investor, developer or entrepreneur'. It seems this Government is keener to help property speculators than people living in garages and tents."

"Social Services Minister Roger Sowry tried to play down the significance of the sale in Parliament by mentioning the sections described as blocking strips, buffer zones and right-of-way drives. He left out the part of the sales material that says 'the bulk of the portfolio contains residential sections'."

"A sell-off like this within three months of an election is clearly part of a 'scorched earth' strategy, designed to stop an incoming Labour government restore state housing. We have already seen 11,000 state houses sold throughout New Zealand by National."

"National isn't re-investing the profits of these sales in the remaining public housing stock. While it rakes in millions of dollars, state house tenants in South Auckland still live in overcrowded, damp, rat-infested homes and suffer the terrible consequences for their health."

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