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Housing announcement lacks crucial detail


Moana Mackey
List MP

Housing announcement lacks crucial detail

The Government’s response to the Housing Shareholders Advisory Group (HSAG) report announced today is completely lacking in detail and deliberately avoids the hard issues says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Moana Mackey.

“Phil Heatley has been sitting on this report since early this year, and yet as 2010 draws to a close we’re none the wiser about the National Government’s commitment to addressing the chronic shortage of social and affordable housing .

“Labour absolutely agrees that the community housing sector is now in a good position to work alongside the state in building new neighbourhoods and increasing the supply of social and affordable housing. We also agree that Labour’s Housing Innovation Fund, continued by this Government, has demonstrated the value of working in partnership with the community housing sector.

“Labour’s concern is that National is trying to absolve itself from its responsibilities in social housing and is expecting community groups to do the Government’s job for them. Labour strongly believes that any involvement of the community housing sector must be as well as, not instead of, continued Government investment.

“The housing shortage is not going to be addressed by shifting around existing assets. We need to be building more new homes, and Mr Heatley needs to tell us exactly how much new money will be made available for this to happen.

Ms Mackey said that plans to introduce fixed term tenancies for state house tenants would not do anything to address the housing shortage.

“Housing New Zealand already works to move tenants on if their circumstances change or if the property they occupy is no longer fit for purpose. What Housing New Zealand staff tell me is that the biggest impediment to moving people on is not that they refuse to go, but that they have nowhere to go to. And the Minister has acknowledged this by conceding that no tenant in this situation will be made to leave.

“Another impediment is the cost of moving – transport, rent in advance, a bond, and thanks to Mr Heatley a letting fee.

“Until we address these core issues, “reviewable tenancies” will not result in anything other than more stress and uncertainty for state house tenants and reluctance for those already in state housing to move on given that if they come back to HNZ in the future they will lose the exemption they currently have from this process.

Ms Mackey said that Labour would consider any changes to policy delivery or needs assessment that the Government proposed. “But my concern is that this will be used as an excuse for another cost cutting exercise when the focus should be on what can provide the best housing outcomes.

ENDS

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