State house sale plans in dispute

Amy Adams.
Amy Adams.
National and Labour are disputing the significance of figures suggesting the number of Dunedin state houses could be cut by 15% in the next 10 years.

The Housing New Zealand (HNZ) figures, released to Labour under the Official Information Act (OIA), suggested houses could be sold in some regional centres, including Dunedin, to fund expansion in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington.

However, Social Housing Minister Amy Adams said the data, which forecast demand for state housing until 2026, was out of date, which Labour was told but failed to tell media.

National supplied a letter which came with Labour's OIA request, which said the data was out-of-date, indicative only, and not reflective of HNZ's planned activity.

''The data Labour is supplying was superseded by instructions from Government late last year, whereby Housing NZ can continue to sell properties only where the Ministry for Social Development confirms specific disposals are consistent with its purchasing intentions,'' Ms Adams said.

Clare Curran.
Clare Curran.
Over the next three years it was planning to increase the number of state houses in New Zealand from 66,000 to 72,000.

HNZ asset development general manager Patrick Dougherty said when MSD indicated there was demand for social housing in an area houses were not sold.

''If and when they are sold, it will only be where they're of the wrong size or type to meet demand.''

Labour Dunedin South MP Clare Curran remained concerned about the figures despite the assurances from Ms Adams.

The figures were ''quite current'' and if there were new figures, Ms Adams needed to put her ''money where her mouth is'' and supply them, Ms Curran said.

Her concern was strengthened by a case in which a Dunedin woman had received a letter from HNZ saying Quotable Value was coming around to take photos of her state house.

After ringing HNZ's 0800 number the woman was told her house was on the list of properties to be sold off.

Labour's housing spokesman, Phil Twyford, accused National of asset-stripping state housing out of communities where there was serious housing need.

''Instead of building more houses in areas of high demand, they have allowed the number of state houses to drop by 2500 nationwide and are now selling off houses in the regions so they can shift the money to Auckland.

''This is a kick in the teeth for communities all over New Zealand who are losing much-needed affordable rental housing for low-income families,'' Mr Twyford said.

Labour would stop National's state house sales, build to increase the number of state houses by at least 1000 per year, and run HNZ as a public service.

vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz

Comments

Adams is quibbling about the details, meanwhile The New Zealand National Party continues dismantling the welfare state. Inequality is at the highest level since the 1920s, the festering sore of Auckland, proof of the failure of Bill English's true religion: deregulation. Shelter is a necessity of life, why then must it be so unfair?

Public housing will only be sold when there is no demand. Just like there is no demand in Cromwell and Queenstown so they are selling homes there.

Just one day a year I would love to see all politicians tell the truth. No part truths, no innuendo, no spin, just a smidgeon of honesty.

There is a huge demand for public and low cost housing, it is just National Party ethos which can't allow them to admit it.

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