Homes and jobs in Labour’s sights
Getting people into homes and jobs are key issues in Porirua, says Labour leader Andrew Little.
Little attended a Labour fundraiser run by Mana MP Kris Faafoi at Light House Cinema, Pauatahanui, on March 2.
‘‘Housing is a big issue here,’’ he said about Porirua.
‘‘We know there are a lot of empty state houses and they might be two or three-bedroom houses, but nevertheless if there are people who are homeless it is a place where they could go.
‘‘The idea that in this day and age in New Zealand people should go homeless is not something we should tolerate.’’
Little said he was concerned that if 8000 state homes were sold by the Government this year it would have a negative impact on Porirua by putting more pressure on the private rental market and inflating rents.
‘‘On every score, I see the Government’s recently announced policy as making it harder for not only those reliant on the state house system, but anyone in the private rental market.
‘‘It is going to push up rental prices and it is not going to be good for anybody.
‘‘They [the Government] are not going to sell 8000 state houses to community housing groups, because those groups can’t afford them so most of them will end up in the hands of property developers.’’
He said already bad landlords and below par rental properties were a problem and it would only get worse unless a warrant of fitness was set up to make sure houses were livable.
It wasn’t just housing on the front of the Opposition leader’s mind.
He spoke to about 60 people at the fundraiser about how his aim was to increase employment.
‘‘Like everywhere else, jobs is a big issue in Porirua. The unemployment rate here is higher than the national average.
‘‘ The youth unemployment here is high and we have to do a lot better to make sure young people get job opportunities and don’t get into a cycle of having no opportunities.’’
Though last year’s election was a tidal wave win for Kris Faafoi, with a 8000-vote lead over Hekia Parata, it was not so for the Labour Party – National won the Mana party vote by 2500 votes. Little was quick to say 2017 would be different.
Labour leader Andrew Little with Mana MP Kris Faafoi.