Heart put back into social housing
20 September 2018
Heart being put back into social housing following hurtful meth testing debacle
A report by Housing New Zealand has shown that under the previous National Government, Housing New Zealand pushed vulnerable kiwis onto the street whilst charging them millions in testing and clean-up costs for meth residue that is scientifically proven not to be harmful.
“The approach by Housing New Zealand, borne from moral panic inflamed by National, resulted in 800 vulnerable tenants being pushed out of their home and approximately $6.8 million charged for testing and clean up”, Green Party Co-leader Marama Davidson said today.
“The report shows that, in some cases, the basic rules of natural justice weren’t followed, with tenants being penalised financially and put out onto the streets with little to no evidence that they were responsible for small amounts of meth residue that aren’t proven to be of any harm.
“The baseless hysteria and mismanagement by National whilst in Government resulted in hurt and pain for vulnerable Kiwis, including the elderly, who just needed a home. I voiced major concerns at the time this was all happening. It was abominable. To this day we don’t know the fate of many tenants who were unfairly kicked out of their home.
“I am proud that this Government is removing the requirement that Housing New Zealand has to return surplus. Homes are not a business and having a roof over your head is a human right. Forcing this Government body to have to try and make money off the back of homes for people who are already struggling was always a bad idea. It put the onus on profit margins over the wellbeing of those New Zealanders.
“We are also embedding into the Housing Act new social objectives so that tenants’ wellbeing is at the forefront. It is well overdue that we put the heart into social housing so that those provided with a home are supported so they can flourish in their community, not be hurt and penalised.
“These changes, alongside a financial assistance programme by Housing New Zealand to support affected tenants and their families, will hopefully turn the ship around for so many tenants who have been hurt by the way National ran Housing New Zealand.
“I am going to keep pushing to make sure compensation is fair and sufficient, and acknowledges the emotional distress caused.
“We need to address the harm caused and take a more responsible approach to people who simply need a home. Society as a whole will benefit from this approach and the Green Party welcomes it”.
Ngā mihi nui,