The Watchdog

Keeping citizens in the loop


25 June 2011

PRESS RELEASE: Response from Sue Henry Spokesperson Housing Lobby:


“Thousands to come off housing list” By Simon Collins Saturday Jun 25, 2011 ________________________________________________________________

“With the continuation of Auckland’s serious housing crisis and families still languishing in sheds, garages and overcrowded and sub-standard accommodation, including those left homeless in Christchurch – the last thing any decent Government should be doing is privatising the state housing stock, using charities such as the Salvation Army and ‘trusts’ in a mixed economy to do it,” says Sue Henry, Spokesperson for the Housing Lobby.

“It is totally unacceptable to have Government policies in the 21st century that create instability, transience and homelessness.

There are several other aspects that are very concerning:

The ‘housing crisis’ will not be fixed by taking people off the waiting list.

Prime Minister John Key promised that there would be no asset sales in this first term of government.

This is what John Key promised on 14 April 2008:

“Transcript: Agenda IV’s John Key Monday, 14 April 2008, 10:57 am

Article: Agenda

GUYON Alright you rightly point out it was sold by the National government in 1998 now that brings us to this position. What is your position now as a National Party on state asset sales?

JOHN Well National’s had some time to reflect on that and the position that we’ve decided to have is the following one. That in the first term of the National government there will be no state assets that will be sold either partially or fully.

GUYON So no state assets, you’re completely firm on that?

JOHN That’s right.”


“But Housing Minister Phil Heatley has said ‘some iwi groups wanted to take over managing state houses rather than buying them, but the Government wanted to sell them.’

Prime Minister John Key is breaking this promise.

The proposed sale of any state housing stock must cease forthwith.”

Housing Lobby Spokesperson Sue Henry drew attention to what Prime Minister John Key had stated on 12 March 2007 – that he didn’t ‘ favour a move back to market-related rents.

Before the 2008 election, National’s stated policy on housing, as declared by Phil Heatley on 22 July 2008, included the following:

National Party promised to keep at least the existing number of state houses if it wins this year’s election.

National would not sell state houses to outside investors, as it did in the 1990s, and would use the proceeds of sales to tenants to buy or lease new state houses.

“We won’t be running down the state housing stock. We acknowledge that we need it.”

Mr Heatley said the party would now keep Labour’s policy of fixing state house rents at only 25 per cent of the tenants’ incomes except for tenants on high incomes.

“This will be yet another broken promise,” says Ms Henry.

“Why then would the ‘social housing unit’ (which should also be scrapped forthwith because it has no public mandate), be asked to ‘propose a new system of subsidising housing costs to replace the income-related rent subsidy for state houses?,” she continued.

[He [Housing Minister Phil Heatley] told the Weekend Herald that the new social housing unit, due to start in the Department of Building and Housing on July 1, would be asked to propose a new system of subsidising housing costs to replace the current income-related rents for state houses and accommodation supplement for the private sector within the next six to 12 months.’]

“This is ludicrous.

The Income Related Rent Subsidy (IRRS) works extremely well for tenants trying to manage on a low income. The system is not broken. It doesn’t need to be tampered with by vested interests,” concluded Ms Henry.

Sue Henry Spokesperson Housing Lobby

Ph (09) 575 6344

June 25, 2011 - Posted by | Fighting corruption in NZ, Human rights

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