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Housing Minister on another planet – Mana offers alternative

MANA MEDIA RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Wednesday 5 October 2011


Housing Minister on another planet – Mana offers radical alternative

Housing Minister Phil Heatley is cementing in hardship for struggling families says Mana housing spokesperson Sue Bradford.

“In an interview this weekend Mr Heatley admitted he now considers people earning the minimum wage too wealthy to live in state housing,” she says.

“I don’t know what planet he lives on, but I know here in Auckland it would cost nearly all the take home pay of a person on the minimum wage to rent a house in the private sector.”

“National is deliberately running down the state housing system with nothing to replace it except for very limited number of houses to be delivered by an under resourced community sector.”

“At a time when thousands of people are living in substandard and inadequate accommodation like cars, sheds, garages and tents this is a disgrace.”

Ms Bradford says MANA believes housing those in need must be a national priority.

Key elements of MANA’s housing policy include:

• Making it a Government obligation to ensure every individual and family is housed in secure, safe and affordable accommodation.

• Developing a national housing strategy based on quality research which identifies true levels of homelessness and substandard living arrangements.

• Building 20,000 new state houses in the next two years.

• Introducing a ‘warrant of fitness’ for all rental housing, to ensure basic standards are maintained for all tenants.

• Establishing a major papakainga housing programme which works to overcome the many barriers which Maori face when seeking to build on their own land.

Ms Bradford says MANA knows that housing is critical to the wellbeing of children and adults alike.

“With many people struggling to afford even minimally adequate housing, we need a radical programme that actually builds houses, not the withdrawal from state responsibility offered by National.”

A copy of our full Housing policy is attached.

ENDS


MANA POLICY STATEMENT
Housing - Kainga
A decent home is a necessary foundation for families to flourish. Too many individuals and whanau live in inadequate, substandard, overcrowded or unsafe accommodation. Mana believes that everyone has a right to secure, healthy housing, whether they live in cities or rural districts.
Maori suffer disproportionately from inadequate housing, and continue to experience discrimination both in accessing decent accommodation and in the ability to borrow capital to build on Maori land. It is time that Aotearoa abided by treaties like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples, with the state guaranteeing provision of adequate shelter for all.
Homelessness is a much bigger issue in Aotearoa today than many people realise. Much more needs to be done to ensure that housing is available where and when people need it, through secure, affordable rentals and through improved access to loans for those who aspire to home ownership.
All new housing should conform to high standards of energy efficiency and sustainable construction and design standards.
Mana policy priorities are to:
• Acknowledge the reality of homelessness in Aotearoa by making it a duty of Government to ensure every individual and family is housed, in secure, safe and affordable accommodation.

• Develop a national housing strategy based on quality research which identifies true levels of homelessness and substandard living arrangements.

• Build 20,000 more state houses within the next two years. This will start to deal with the current crisis in housing availability for low income people, and will also create jobs and training opportunities.

• Maintain income related rents at no more than 25% of income for state, local government and community and iwi social housing.

• Introduce a ‘warrant of fitness’ for all rental housing, to ensure no accommodation is let without basic standards being met, including sanitation, insulation, warmth, fire safety and the removal of any toxic materials.


• Provide adequate ongoing funding for emergency housing, women’s refuges and supported housing for those with particular health and social needs – in every district. Increase funding and other support for tenants’ protection groups.

• Introduce a major papakainga housing programme, which works to overcome in sensitive, practical ways the many current barriers to building housing on Maori communally owned land.

• Extend the range of options for assistance with home purchase for low and middle income earners.

• Increase Government support for third sector housing providers – whanau, hapu and iwi, community and church based organisations who work to provide quality social housing (rental and owned) in local areas. Support the development of indigenous housing models, as well as sweat equity, shared equity, eco housing, cooperative housing and other innovative forms of home ownership.

• Maintain and increase rural housing improvement programmes which enable whanau to bring their homes up to decent health and safety standards.

• Government to assist with the establishment of a community owned banking network, either as a new entity or as a non-profit stand alone part of Kiwibank, with functions including:

- Assisting with housing loans for papakainga and other tangata whenua and community based social housing initiatives.
- Providing capital for the development of other community enterprises which support job creation, and the meeting of social, cultural and environmental needs.
- Enabling genuine community ownership through democratically elected, accountable shareholder directors.

• Increase funding and support for environmentally sustainable and low cost, low tech building trades training programmes.

• Establish the right of people to remain in or return to their home rohe without penalty from the state; increase Government support for rural districts, including through greater assistance with public transport, sewerage, water, wastewater, waste, roading and other infrastructure.

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