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Govt dumps housing burden on community sector

Moana MACKEY
Housing Spokesperson
27 September 2011
MEDIA STATEMENT

Govt dumps housing burden on community sector

After turning a blind eye to Auckland’s housing shortage for two and a half years, Housing Minister Phil Heatley today presented Aucklanders with a hastily prepared package, the burden of which seems to fall on the community housing sector,” says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Moana Mackey.

“The Minister’s proposal appears to rely heavily on the community housing sector stepping in and picking up the slack left by the National Government’s under-investment in social housing,” Moana Mackey said.

“As recently as June this year the Minister said building houses wasn’t the answer to social housing shortages in Auckland, yet under pressure it seems he has had a change of heart.

“Labour supports the belated upgrade of properties and expansion of Auckland’s social housing stock outlined in the package, but the Minister knows adding less than 300 properties a year is inadequate given there are 1600 applicants currently rated category A or B on Housing New Zealand’s waiting list in Auckland.

“When you add in the more than 3000 Auckland applicants who are rated category C or D that the Minister booted off the state house waiting list from July this year, it is clear that this announcement will not even come close to relieving social housing pressures in Auckland.

“Furthermore, the Minister says he wants third sector providers to pick up a significant proportion of the social housing load in Auckland. In the case of the Tamaki Transformation Project, he wants the third sector to take on half the social tenancies in that area. Yet the Government will not provide the funding to ensure that these providers are able to continue to charge the same income related rents that state house tenants enjoy.

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“Labour supports the increased involvement of the community housing sector in the provision of social and affordable housing. However, we have consistently said that it must be as well as on-going investment by Housing New Zealand, not instead of.

“This is a cynical cost-cutting exercise. The more tenants the Government can push on to third sector providers, the more they save in subsidies for income-related rents.

“This will mean higher rents for an increasing number of Auckland social housing tenants. It’s an unfunded mandate that is grossly unfair to the community housing organisations that will bear the brunt of tenant dissatisfaction,” Moana Mackey said.

ENDS

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