Sal­lies’ de­ci­sion sparks con­cern

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By RHI­AN­NON McCONNELL

The Sal­va­tion Army’s de­ci­sion to not be­come in­volved in buy­ing state houses should be a wake-up call to the Gov­ern­ment, Mana MP Kris Faafoi says.

The Sal­va­tion Army said last week it would not buy any units ear­marked for sale this year be­cause it did not have the ex­per­tise, in­fra­struc­ture and re­sources.

‘‘If any­one was go­ing to buy them who we would be happy with, it would have been them,’’ Faafoi said.

The Sal­va­tion Army’s de­ci­sion was made af­ter Prime Min­is­ter John Key an­nounced in Jan­uary plans to sell 1000 to 2000 state houses to com­mu­nity hous­ing providers over the next year.

Hous­ing New Zealand plans to de­crease its hous­ing stock from 68,000 prop­er­ties to 60,000 by 2017. Porirua has 2700 state houses.

Key as­sured the coun­try there would be strict con­di­tions around who could buy the houses to pre­vent them fall­ing into the hands of slum land­lords.

But with the Sal­va­tion Army’s de­ci­sion, there is now pres­sure on the Gov­ern­ment to sweeten the deal to those buy­ing the houses by of­fer­ing big­ger dis­counts and less strict con­di­tions.

‘‘We are fear­ful it will go down the track of de­vel­op­ers,’’ Faafoi said.

‘‘It shows just how half-baked and rushed this is. We should be in­vest­ing in our homes and mak­ing sure peo­ple have af­ford­able hous­ing.’’

Faafoi said his big­gest fear was de­vel­op­ers would buy the houses and rent them out in ter­ri­ble con­di­tions to the most des­per­ate – a prob­lem Porirua al­ready faces from pre­vi­ous sell-offs.

‘‘We don’t want that kind of thing to hap­pen in our com­mu­ni­ties.

‘‘It’s time peo­ple started mak­ing their voices heard again.’’

Photo: RHI­AN­NON MCCONNELL

Buy and sell:

Porirua state houses, like the one Josie and Alan Huntly live in, could be among those sold.

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