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Nats poised to privatise Housing NZ

Labour
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The Government must come clean on its moves to hand over management of all state houses to real estate companies, says Labour's housing spokesperson Graham Kelly.

"Sources within Housing New Zealand tell me its board recently approved negotiations with real estate companies to take over management of all state houses for rent," Mr Kelly says.

"This would be the end of state housing as we know it. The Government has been trying to lock in high market rents by contracting out the management of groups of houses under its so-called "community partnership" scheme. Now it wants to contract out the entire public housing estate to real estate companies whose only concern is profit.

"We've already seen one so-called community partnership with a real estate company. Crocker Property Management, part of the large Auckland-based Crocker Group, has been given control of 360 houses in Counties-Manukau.

"Another 'partnership' was actually the sale of 554 state houses at giveaway prices to a Wairarapa booze trust.

"My information now is that discussions are underway with Harcourts and Robertson First National about the possibility of private management of all remaining state houses. Housing New Zealand would be reduced to a contract-holding shell, with a skeleton staff. All neighbourhood unit offices would be closed.

"These discussions are not expected to produce results in the short time remaining until the election. That gives New Zealanders the clearest possible choice in the polls. A vote for National is a vote for the privatisation of state housing. A vote for Labour is a vote to keep those houses for their real purpose, to give shelter and hope to low-income families.

"National has sold 11,000 state houses for $1 billion. For every house it has built, it has sold ten.

"Labour is committed to state housing for a social purpose. National is in it for the money."

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