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Social housing providers warned against buying state houses

Social housing providers warned against buying state houses from government

The newly formed State Housing Action Network (SHAN) has written to social housing providers across New Zealand warning them of the consequences for low-income tenants and families if they agree to buy state houses from the government. (A copy of the letter is appended to this release)

We have pointed out that social housing providers who co-operate with this policy will be helping the government abdicate its responsibility to low-income tenants and families. They will be betraying existing state house tenants as well as those who will need state houses in the future.

The government knows there is a housing crisis for tenants and families on low incomes but is refusing to address this social emergency. Instead it is desperate to sell off state houses because they are seen as a liability after decades of neglect and underinvestment.

Social housing providers will simply be unable to provide the level of financial support needed to house the people who need them.

Only the government has the resources and capacity to provide quality affordable homes for all the families which need them.

We are asking social housing providers to follow the principled lead of the Salvation Army and Methodist Mission Aotearoa which have both turned down opportunities to purchase state houses.



6 April 2015
Government plans for state houses

State Housing Action Network is a network of groups formed earlier this year to fight government plans to sell off state houses to private sector organisations.

The network includes groups which have been campaigning against so-called “redevelopment” of state housing in various centres of New Zealand which has left reduced numbers of state houses across the country.

Housing New Zealand is being progressively gutted. The government has forced it to slash state house waiting lists, close most local offices and strip tenure from existing state house tenants. It has driven staff morale to rock-bottom and is no longer assessing tenants for housing needs. WINZ has taken over this function and will allocate tenants to HNZ or private “social housing providers”. To make matters worse the government intends to sell thousands of existing state houses to private “social housing providers”.

This is best summed up by Housing Minister Nick Smith who says he wants to “create a market in social housing”.

However no-where in the world has such a “market” been able to provide quality affordable homes for families on low incomes. For these people the market provides only slum landlords, cockroach-infested caravans and cardboard shacks by the side of the road.

We are very strongly opposed to these policies because they will reduce housing stability and security for the very people who need it the most. “Social housing providers” will never be able to provide quality, affordable homes for every family who needs them. Only the government has the resources and the capacity to do so. If social housing providers co-operate with these policies they will be betraying existing state house tenants and those families now and in the future who will need state housing.

We were very pleased to see the recent principled decisions of the Salvation Army and the Methodist Mission not to buy state houses. We want all social housing providers to do the same.

Will your organisation agree not to purchase state houses and instead support the campaign to oppose these government policies?

Please give this letter your urgent consideration. We would be happy to attend a meeting of your group to explain our concerns in more detail. In the meantime we look forward to hearing from you about your support for our campaign to stop these changes.


John Minto – Convenor


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