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Ongoing vandalism and theft from Housing New Zealand

9 March 2012

Ongoing vandalism and theft has direct consequences for people in most need

The ongoing vandalism and the theft of materials from Housing New Zealand houses is having direct consequences for the people who are in most need of state housing, says Greg Groufsky, acting General Manager Tenancy Services.

In recent months the Corporation has had an increase in the theft of copper pipes from state houses. Thieves are also damaging the houses to get to the pipes and stealing fittings such as stoves and bathroom fittings.

“We house people in the most need and whenever a thief or vandal attacks one of our properties, tenanted or empty, they are directly impacting the people who need our help the most.

“They are reducing the amount of money the Corporation can invest in maintaining and upgrading our state housing, says Mr Groufsky.

“The cost of fixing the damaged properties can be in tens of thousands and this financial year alone these types of acts have cost the Corporation more than $1.5 million.

“These needless acts of vandalism and theft affect all New Zealanders and their $15 billion investment in the state housing network.”

Last month a property in Hamilton, which was about to be tenanted by a family in need was extensively damaged by vandals and will require $21,000 in repair costs before it can be tenanted again.

Yesterday thieves’ stripped copper pipes from an apartment building in Pomare, Wellington while some tenants were home. The cost of repairing the damage is expected to exceed $85,000.

Some of the tenants were in their apartments as the thieves stripped out all copper piping in the centre duct of the apartment block.

The damage has now resulted in the Corporation having to relocate tenants from the building for a week while the pipes are replaced and electrical wiring is repaired.

“Clearly the thieves had no regard for the people living there and because of their actions some of our tenants may need to be relocated away from their community while the repair work is being carried out.

“In yesterday’s case this was made worse by the thieves knocking on tenants’ doors and telling our tenants not to worry about the noise,” says Mr Groufsky.

“I urge all our tenants and neighbours of Housing New Zealand properties to ask for identification if a person is claiming to be contractor and to report any suspicious behaviour to Police.

“The Corporation will vigorously work with Police to stop these gratuitous acts of vandalism and theft.”

ENDS

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