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Housing NZ must support communities - Sharples

The Hon Dr Pita Sharples
Maori Party Co-Leader | MP for Tamaki Makaurau

11 April 2012

Housing NZ must support communities - Sharples

Housing New Zealand Corporation must urgently rebalance its statutory purposes and take more responsibility for supporting communities and achieving social outcomes, says Māori Party Co-leader and Tāmaki Makaurau MP Dr Pita Sharples.

“Housing New Zealand is clearly focusing on its commercial performance and financial return to the government, at the expense of social objectives, with serious consequences for tenants and the communities they live in,” said Dr Sharples.

“News that the corporation has been closing down outreach offices, and that it banned local tenancy managers from attending a community farewell to thank them, shows how disconnected senior management has become from the people they are supposed to be helping,” he said.

“In its Briefing for the Minister of Housing last December, the corporation outlined various steps it was taking to allow tenancy managers to spend more time in their communities – but that is not what tenants are seeing on the ground.

“The corporation says it works in a community of government, charitable and private sector organisations – but here it is acting in its own business interests, not in the interests of tenants needing social housing, which is HNZC’s main purpose.

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“Every New Zealander has a right to housing; and as a government we have a duty to provide social housing for our citizens. I would like HNZC Chief Executive, Lesley McTurk, to explain how Housing New Zealand is managing its priorities. Some parts of government should not be in the business of making money; they should be in the business of caring for whanau.

“The Department of Building and Housing is the policy agency that should ensure the government’s social objectives are met, so where is the oversight to protect tenants? Tenants and their communities must be central to state housing policy and operations,” said Dr Sharples.


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