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Auckland Council in breach of Human Rights Act

Whanau Waipareira, along with a coalition of concerned housing groups, is taking the Auckland Council to task over its Social Housing capping policy – claiming it breaches the Human Rights Act and boarders on corruption.

Waipareira CEO John Tamihere told Mayor Phil Goff – fresh from his ‘Hunt for the Homeless’ stunt – the policy enforced by Panuku, the property arm of council, was discriminatory. He said Goff must be aware this policy will generate more homeless.

There is no explanation provided as to why poorer folk should be excluded from council developments, Tamihere said.

At today’s Auckland Council Governing board meeting at the Town Hall, Tamihere said that Panuku’s social housing policy excludes the elderly on fixed incomes, the unemployed, beneficiaries and Aucklanders earning under $80k from buying or owning ratepayer land.

“There is a significant need for social housing in Auckland and we cannot have land owned by the ratepayer being gamed by social engineering,” Tamihere said.

“Panuku’s cap on social housing discriminates against elders on superannuation, and discriminates against 40% of New Zealanders, in particular Aucklanders, who are working but deemed to be on the poverty line. It also discriminates against beneficiaries.

“We could build a couple of hundred (social housing) homes if Panuku got out of the way. They don’t need to get into social engineering. There is no law, nor is there any information rationalising or authorising some bureaucrat to determine how and where many poor folk can live.

“In addition, this policy is in total conflict with the New Zealand Government increase housing funding and support for social housing “We could just take the money for the build and turn a blind eye to this practice, but that would make us as corrupt as those setting the policy.”

The situation with Panuku has come to a head following a stalemate at a development by Whanau Waipareira in Papatoetoe. Panuku say only 30.9% of the build can be designated Social Housing, while the remainder of the development must be a mixture of affordable and market valued houses.

Waipareira initially agreed in terms of a cap, but continued to assert Panuku was on notice that that cap needed to be tested because it had a legal opinion advising the cap was illegal and in breach of the Human Rights Act.

“I have met with Panuku, the three western councillors – Ross Clow, Linda Cooper and Penny Hulse, as well as Mayor Goff and conveyed a legal opinion that asserts the Panuku cap on social housing is illegal,” Tamihere said.

Presenting to the full council governing board was the final step before possible legal action, he said. “We do not take this on lightly,” Tamihere said.

He was giving the council 8 weeks’ notice to turn its social housing policy around.

“Firstly, the council must take back control of its Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs) - particularly Panuku,” Tamihere said.

“Secondly, it is also the Council, not Panuku that should and must determine its social engineering housing policy. They can do that by way of a full consultation process with the citizens of this city. “While that happens, they must drop the housing cap on social housing.

“Thirdly I want speaking space on the March 2019 Council meeting, by way of report back on these matters I have raised.”

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