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Ryall's weasel words house no families

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"Tony Ryall's feeble excuses for the housing crisis documented in yet another report today are typical of a Government that has denied the needs of low-income people for nine years," says Labour's housing spokesperson Graham Kelly.

"Confronted by a steadily growing mountain of evidence that its housing policy is a prime cause of overcrowding and poverty, this Government offers nothing but token gestures and weasel words from smug yuppie ministers."

Today's report from the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services brands the Government's housing policy a failure, saying market rents, state house sales and the "one size fits all" accommodation supplement have contributed directly to rising housing costs and a shortage of decent and safe housing.

"The facts speak for themselves," Mr Kelly says. "This government has sold about 11,000 state houses for almost $1 billion. It has decimated the public housing built by generations of New Zealand taxpayers.

"National has also let public housing go to ruin. Just in the past two months the National Health Committee has reported South Auckland tenants living in damp, cold, rat-infested homes and Parliament's Social Services Committee has reported Housing NZ's failure to meet demand in Northland and East Cape, where families are living in caravans, sheds, garages, derelict houses and even cars.

"Today's report and last month's Family Centre poverty survey have hammered home the message that high housing costs are the main cause of poverty in New Zealand. Government policy has raised those costs, but Mr Ryall and his colleagues are wedded blindly to their mad market rentals.

"A token neighbourhood programme and a few new political show-homes in Auckland don't scratch the surface of this country's housing problems. As today's report says, the Government's "tinkering around the edges" has negligible impact.

"Labour's commitment to return to income-related rents for low-income state house tenants is urgently needed. Our plans for housing action zones in areas like Northland and East Cape will make a real difference to the health and social cohesion of low-income families."

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