More housing misery from National
"National has no commitment to providing low-income New Zealanders with affordable housing. National's plans to bowl over state houses and allow property developers to build a few new ones will do nothing to ease the despair felt by young families, the elderly and other low-income tenants as they struggle to pay exorbitant rents.
"The policy talks of building up to 2,500 new state houses over the next ten years. Just six months ago Tony Ryall was promising 1000 houses a year and his predecessor Murray McCully promised 2000 a year.
"But the policy is not about increasing the stock of houses. For every state house it has built, National has sold ten. It has sold 11,000 of the 70,000 state housing stock. National thinks state housing is for profit, not for the poor.
"The policy talks of "partnerships with the private sector". That's Ryall-speak for abandoning all government responsibility. The goal is to hand over management of all state houses to real estate companies.
"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. This would be the end of state housing as we know it.
"National has been trying to lock in the high market rents which Labour has promised to end, 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.
"One real estate company, Crocker Property Management, has already been given control of 360 houses in Counties-Manukau. Another so-called 'community partnership' was the sale of 554 state houses at give-away prices to a Wairarapa booze trust.
"Market rents for state houses have left low-income families paying 40-70 percent of their household income in rent. This has resulted in overcrowding, outbreaks of Third World diseases like TB and meningitis, and rising poverty levels.
"National's further privatisation plans would only add to the misery," Graham Kelly said.