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Labour supporting state and rental housing

5 September 2005

Labour supporting state and rental housing, but what is National's policy?

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey today released Labour's policy for state and rental housing, and challenged the National Party to outline its policy in this area.

Labour's policies on home ownership, including Kiwisaver which provides support for deposits for first home owners; mortgage insurance; and equity sharing schemes have already been released.

Helen Clark and Steve Maharey said that Labour in its third term will:

* Commit funding for an additional 3,288 state houses over the next four years.
* Maintain income related rents.
* Continue its major projects to modernise state housing to make the homes more energy efficient and healthy.
* Expand community housing provided by HNZC by providing an additional $40 million over three years.
* Maintain the accommodation supplement at the new higher levels introduced through Working for Families to help with the housing costs of those families renting in the private sector.

Helen Clark and Steve Maharey said that it was astonishing that two weeks before the general election the National Party had issued no policy on state and rental housing.

"National has refused to support the Kiwisaver scheme which is designed to help people buy their first home.

"When last in office in the 1990s, National sold off the Housing Corporation mortgage portfolio which used to help people buy their own homes, sold 13,000 state houses, and made state house tenants pay market rents.

"National has to answer questions about what its intentions are in these areas:

* Does it support the mortgage insurance scheme Labour has introduced?
* Is its policy to return to market rents for state houses?
* Does it have plans to sell off state houses again?

"Two weeks out from the election, silence on these issue speaks volumes. There seems little doubt that as with their policies on ACC, industrial relations, and education, the National Party housing policy would return New Zealand to the bleak, unfair, and miserable days of the 1990s," Helen Clark and Steve Maharey said.


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