State hous­ing ‘not fit for chang­ing needs’

Central Leader - - NEWS - By LAU­REN PRI­EST­LEY and SHANE COWLISHAW

State ten­ants are still wait­ing to hear if their sub­urbs will be the first on the chop­ping block when state houses go up for sale.

The Gov­ern­ment kicked off a coun­try­wide so­cial hous­ing road­show in Auck­land on Fe­bru­ary 13 to dis­cuss its pol­icy of sell­ing state houses to com­mu­nity groups.

About 50 peo­ple turned up but they will have to wait un­til April to hear about spe­cific house trans­ac­tions.

In Jan­uary, the Gov­ern­ment an­nounced plans to sell 1000 to 2000 state houses in the next year to com­mu­nity hous­ing providers and iwi.

More sales com­ing years.

The plan is for Hous­ing New Zealand to re­main the big­gest provider of so­cial hous­ing with at least 60,000 prop­er­ties by 2017,

are

pos­si­ble

in com­pared to the 68,000 rently owns.

Hous­ing ad­vo­cate Sue Henry of Glen Innes says there were a num­ber of state ten­ants at the Auck­land event.

‘‘There were a lot of peo­ple there want­ing to buy state houses, but that was no good.

‘‘There are thou­sands of empty state houses and there have been for years.’’

So­cial Hous­ing Min­is­ter Paula Bennett says there is a real need for more hous­ing that suits de­mand.

it cur-

About 70 per cent of state hous­ing ap­pli­cants need one and twobed­room prop­er­ties but only about 30 per cent of the stock matches that cri­te­ria.

There are 5000 peo­ple on the reg­is­ter wait­ing for suit­able ac­com­mo­da­tion, Bennett says.

‘‘The prob­lem is we do not have enough houses for peo­ple that need them most.’’

Fi­nance Min­is­ter Bill English told the crowd the cur­rent hous­ing stock is not fit for the coun­try’s chang­ing needs.

In the past the Gov­ern­ment had been ‘‘obliged by pol­i­tics’’ to re­tain a set num­ber of state houses, even if they were in lo­ca­tions that had an over­sup­ply.

There are still ques­tions to an­swer about a sale price ben­e­fi­cial to tax­pay­ers but af­ford­able for com­mu­nity groups, he says.

The Gov­ern­ment said it will re­view an­other 3000 ten­ants in the next two years to see if they can move into pri­vate rentals.

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