Sallies’ decision sparks concern
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.’’
Buy and sell:
Porirua state houses, like the one Josie and Alan Huntly live in, could be among those sold.