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Govt Gets Its Priorities All Wrong With Kāinga Ora Review

The independent reviews of Kāinga Ora announced today should be focused primarily on building enough houses to make sure everyone has a warm, dry, and affordable place to live.

“For this government to be more concerned about debt than giving everyone a place to live should tell you everything you need to know about where their values lie,” says the Green Party’s housing spokesperson, Tamatha Paul.

“I can tell you now that the financial situation at Kāinga Ora is not the primary concern. The problem that needs solving is the fact that thousands of people across Aotearoa do not have a safe and affordable place to live.

“Right now, there are 25,000 households on the housing wait list. The government’s priority should be on clearing this and making sure everyone has a place to call home as soon as possible.

“The terms of reference for the review need to reflect this by stating very clearly that it is to consider how to scale up more housing that is so desperately needed. Kāinga Ora's "Housing Delivery System" has been described by industry as best practice, and industry leading - and the government needs to consider how it can scale this up.

“The National Party loves to make up fake problems to deflect, distract, and disguise their real intentions. My biggest worry is that they are going to use this review to slow down the public house build even further, making the situation so much worse for whānau all over the country.

“It's time to start treating housing as a human right. Aotearoa is proud of our public health and public education systems, but when it comes to housing, National governments have a track record of selling off public housing assets instead of building them up. With thousands of people on the housing waiting list, it's essential this government takes a more forward-looking view.

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“I am calling on the government to commit to continuing the existing Kāinga Ora build programme. The budget earlier this year committed to only fund the programme for another 12 months. During the election campaign National refused to commit anything beyond this. The concern now is that they will use this review to justify selling off public assets.

“It's always important to ensure that public institutions are managing their funds well - but National needs to come clean on intentions for the Kāinga Ora build programme and not use looking into financial performance as a fig leaf for winding back New Zealand's first large-scale public housing build programme of the 21st century,” says Tamatha Paul.

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