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Labour Grinch Puts Rural Teachers’ Rents Up

Labour Grinch Puts Rural Teachers’ Rents Up

Katherine Rich MP
National Party Education Spokeswoman

Labour should stop being a Grinch and back-off huge rent hikes for a group of rural teachers living in hard to staff areas, says National’s Education spokeswoman, Katherine Rich.

“In the antithesis of Christmas spirit, the Government’s property manager has shocked tenants by announcing rent hikes for 2008 that are, in some cases, 100% more than the currently paid rentals.

“Some of the explanations for these rent hikes are dubious at best.

“Teachers living in a six bedroom boarding hostel in Tokoroa have been told their rent is to double because their accommodation is likened to a top-market home.

“Education Minister Chris Carter should tell the property manager to get real. A rundown boarding hostel and a top-of-the-market six-bedroom family home are not the same things.

“It’s doubly ludicrous because, in some of these isolated areas, there are no comparable rents.

“This problem has been created by previous Labour Education Ministers who decided to transfer ownership of school houses to boards and then incentivised them to either sell the houses or have them independently managed.

“Many of these houses and flats are in hard-to-staff areas and teachers have taken their roles because of the added incentive of access to good accommodation.

“However, ‘good’ is probably debatable when some of these properties are run down and manky.

“One of the houses in Mangakino has paint peeling off the ceilings, dodgy guttering, a rotten garage, and a leaky loo. The Government’s property manager intends raising the rent by over 100% on January 14.

“Another teacher in Tokoroa, whose rent is to increase by 44% next year, from $95 to $135, found his property in a state of disrepair. When he moved in it was almost uninhabitable. Having carpeted the whole house, painted all the rooms and planted a garden, he’s now being punished because he’s added value to the property.

“Most tenants expect rents to rise over time – but not by 100%. The Minister should tell the property managers to back off and come back with something more reasonable”.

ENDS

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