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Low-wage families need new housing policies

24 January 2013

Low-wage families need new housing policies

The Service and Food Workers Union has strongly backed the Green Party housing initiatives announced today.

The new policy would enable workers to live in a Government-built home, making a basic weekly payment to cover the Crown’s investment cost and flexible payments to eventually own the home.

The policy also provides much greater protection for those in rental accommodation, including a provision to keep down rent increases.

“The toxic combination of very low wages and very high house prices and unaffordable rentals has made life misery for low-paid workers in New Zealand,” said SFWU National Secretary John Ryall.

“For many thousands of hard working New Zealanders, owning a home has become an impossible dream and soaring rents and inadequate rental housing are a daily fact of life.”

SFWU represents 22,000 workers who are cleaners, caregivers, security guards, food workers and other service workers.

John Ryall said that housing had become the single biggest issue for low-paid workers and their families and providing adequate housing was impossible on wages close to the minimum wage.

“Increasingly housing is a nightmare, not only for our members who are paid close to the minimum wage of $13.50, but those who earn a dollar or two more. They simply do not earn enough to save for a home or pay for the rental accommodation their family needs.”

The SFWU also welcomed the signalled cooperation between Labour and the Greens on housing.

“The Green policy fits well with Labour’s commitment to substantially invest in building more houses. For our members, raising a deposit on their wages is impossible and the Green initiative provides a way to ensure that hard working New Zealanders on low wages can buy a home.”


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