Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


312 state house tenancies ended for dishonesty

Hon Phil Heatley
Minister of Housing

22 August 2012

Media Statement

312 state house tenancies ended for dishonesty

Housing New Zealand has terminated 312 tenancies in the year to 30 June 2012 after investigations found the tenants had obtained a state house or taxpayer-subsidised rent by lying about their circumstances, Housing Minister Phil Heatley said today. The figure is up from 241 last year and 114 in 2010.

“There has been a sharp increase in the number of state tenancies ended for dishonesty over the past couple of years,” Mr Heatley said.

“Housing New Zealand has worked hard to identify and remove tenants committing fraud and to make sure those most in need are assisted for as long as they have that need.

“We have built a very effective and skilled team of investigators who are very good at detecting, investigating and dealing with tenants who are deliberately ripping off the system,” he said.

In addition, during the past 12 months Housing New Zealand was successful in establishing $9.6 million in Crown debts for overpaid rent subsidies – bringing the total over the past four years to nearly $23.3 million.

“In one recent case the courts ordered the former tenant to repay over $75,000 in rental subsidies. It’s very important that we not only end tenancies, but also seek to recover the taxpayer-funded rent subsidies that these people received by knowingly lying about their circumstances.

“A state house is not an automatic entitlement – and people who deliberately lie about their circumstances are depriving families in real need and receive benefits that they are not entitled to.

“By freeing up 312 homes in the past 12 months, a total of 709 over the past three years, Housing New Zealand is able to help a significant number of people on the waiting list who desperately need a state house.”

The investigations revealed situations where tenants failed to advise Housing New Zealand about income from employment, business interests, assets, that they lived with a partner, or they sublet their tenancy.

Since July last year Housing New Zealand has also successfully prosecuted 120 tenants for fraud. Sentences for the 120 people convicted included:

· prison sentences (three)

· home detention/community detention (42)

· community work (45)

· reparation only (five)

· convicted and discharged (four)

· awaiting sentence (21)

Examples of former tenants investigated over the past year

Running a business

Two Auckland tenants were claiming taxpayer-subsidised income-related rent while running an Internet services business with 300 residential customers. Between 2006 and 2010 the business generated $392,850 in bank deposits. The tenancy was terminated and the tenants prosecuted through the courts. They have been sentenced to community work and ordered to pay reparation.

Undeclared partner

A West Auckland tenant with an undeclared partner living at her state rental house made a joint application with her partner to purchase the Housing New Zealand property she lived in. An investigation determined that the two had been in a long-term relationship, and they intentionally did not declare the partner on Income Related Rent applications forms to avoid paying higher rent. If the partner had been declared, the tenant would not have been eligible for the taxpayer-subsidised rent that she was receiving – it was calculated that she received $75,310 in rent subsidies that she should not have received. The tenancy was terminated, and the tenant sentenced to eight months’ home detention and ordered to pay reparation of $75,310.

Undeclared partner

An investigation into a South Island tenant found he had failed to include his wife and her income when claiming Income Related Rent subsidies. The investigation came about as a result of a family photo being recovered from Facebook. The wife lived undeclared at the tenancy and was continuously employed for 11 years. The couple also jointly owned a property, located about 5km from the state house they rented, which they did not declare. The tenancy was ended and the tenant was prosecuted and pleaded guilty. He is awaiting sentencing.

Subletting tenancy

An Auckland couple renting a state house sublet the house for one year, and lied about their income for four years. When interviewed the couple denied subletting but the investigation established that they were living in Palmerston North, where their children were enrolled in school. The tenancy was terminated, and both tenants were convicted and sentenced to 150 hours community work each. They are currently repaying Housing New Zealand $22,486.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Whether This Election Is Already A Foregone Conclusion

Currently, this election looks like being a no contest. The weekend’s Newshub poll has the centre left enjoying a roughly 57-36% lead over the centre right. Labour is on 50.1% and the Greens 6.5%, while National remains in the dreaded 20s at 29.6% and the Act Party is on 6.3%. Conditions continue to look terminal for New Zealand First. Despite being a stubborn brake on government tax policy and winning a few policy gains of its own, NZF is registering only a 1.9% level of support... More>>


Economy: Business Leaders’ Confidence Tanks As Top Kiwi CEOs Vent Their Frustrations

The New Zealand Herald’s Mood of the Boardroom 2020 Election Survey has been released with top business leaders saying New Zealand’s Covid-19 recovery is in peril – and they want a decisive role with Government in the country’s future. The annual ... More>>


Poll: Newshub-Reid Research Poll Shows National Rising But Labour Still Governing Alone

With less than three weeks to go, Labour remains in a position where it could govern alone in the latest Newshub-Reid Research poll* on 50.1% - down 10.8 percentage points. National has risen slightly to 29.6% (up 4.5 percentage points), but even with the ... More>>


Winston Peters Speech: The Gathering Storm Clouds: Ihumatao

Frequently around New Zealand you hear people say that politicians are all the same. It’s a convenient way to dismiss any careful investigation of the truth of that statement. New Zealand First since its inception has been committed to ‘one law ... More>>


National Agriculture Policy: Will Restore Farmer Confidence And Pride

A National Government will reduce regulatory burden and give farmers confidence for the future. Leader of the National Party Judith Collins and Agriculture spokesperson David Bennett announced National’s Agriculture policy in Gisborne today. “Agriculture ... More>>


Government: Taking Action To Reduce Waste And Plastics

Phase out single use and hard to recycle plastics by 2025 Create a $50m Plastics Innovation Fund to develop alternatives Standardise kerbside recycling The Labour Party is taking the next step in removing plastic rubbish from our oceans and environment ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Last Night’s Leaders Debate

Do political debates change voter intentions, and cause voters to switch sides? According to a 2019 Harvard Business School study conducted across 61 elections in nine countries involving 172,000 respondents, the answer would seem to be a resounding ... More>>


Dunne Speaks: The Election Campaign Just Grinds Slowly On And On

With just over three weeks until the General Election, the release of the first major pre-election opinion poll this week confirmed what was already being reported about this year’s campaign. Although the gap between Labour and National has narrowed ... More>>

Electoral Commission: Candidate And Party Lists Released

17 registered political parties and 677 candidates will be contesting the 2020 General Election Nominations have now closed and the Electoral Commission has released the electorate and party list candidates for 2020 online at . Advance voting ... More>>

National: Plan To Restore NZ’s Prosperity

National’s Economic and Fiscal Plan carefully balances the need to invest in infrastructure and core public services while also reducing tax pressure on Kiwi families and businesses. National Leader Judith Collins and Finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith unveiled National’s ... More>>






InfoPages News Channels