Housing NZ homes targets for thieves
Vandalism and theft of materials from Housing New Zealand houses is having consequences for the people in most need of state housing, says Greg Groufsky, acting general manager of Tenancy Services.
In recent months Housing NZ has had an increase in the theft of copper pipes from state houses. Thieves are also damaging the houses to get to the pipes, and stealing fittings such as stoves and bathroom fittings.
‘‘We house people in the most need and whenever a thief or vandal attacks one of our properties, tenanted or empty, they are directly impacting the people who need our help the most,’’ Mr Groufsky says.
‘‘They are reducing the amount of money the corporation can invest in maintaining and upgrading our state housing.’’
‘‘The cost of fixing the damaged properties can be in tens of thousands and this financial year alone these types of acts have cost the corporation more than $ 1.5 million.
‘‘These needless acts of vandalism and theft affect all New Zealanders and their $15 billion investment in the state housing network.’’
Last month a property in Hamilton which was about to be tenanted by a family in need was extensively damaged by vandals and will require $21,000 in repair costs before it can be tenanted again.
On March 9, thieves stripped copper pipes from an apartment building in Pomare, Lower Hutt. The cost of repairing the damage is expected to exceed $85,000.
Some tenants were in their apartments as the thieves stripped all copper piping in the centre duct of the apartment block. The damage resulted in Housing NZ having to relocate tenants for a week while the pipes were replaced and electrical wiring repaired.
‘‘Clearly the thieves had no regard for the people living there and because of their actions some of our tenants may need to be relocated away from their community while the repair work is being carried out.’’
The Pomare theft was made worse by offenders knocking on tenants’ doors and telling tenants not to worry about the noise, Mr Groufsky says.
‘‘ I urge all our tenants and neighbours of Housing New Zealand properties to ask for identification if a person is claiming to be a contractor. People should report any suspicious behaviour to police.
‘‘The corporation will vigorously work with police to stop these gratuitous acts of vandalism and theft.’’