Tana calls for housing solution
Mike Tana wants a plan set up to address the ‘‘housing emergency’’ in Porirua.
The Porirua mayoral candidate joined with Mana MP Kris Faafoi and Porirua-based Green MP Jan Logie last week to call for the 126 empty Housing New Zealand houses in Porirua to be filled immediately.
‘‘[This situation] is a kick in the teeth to Porirua families who need a home, and a horrible waste of a public resource,’’ he said.
Recent figures showed 486 Housing New Zealand homes are empty in the Wellington region, while 523 people are on the Ministry of Social Development’s social housing register.
Tana said a ‘‘practical and compassionate’’ plan should include a commitment to build quality homes that kept children safe and warm.
Faafoi said state houses in Porirua should be fixed, not sold, and he and Logie called for the Government to implement a clear plan for state houses in the city.
Housing New Zealand chief operating officer Paul Commons said the organisation was a responsible landlord that housed people, looked after properties and built new ones. About 20 new families a week were housed in the region.
Commons said it was important to note the Ministry of Social Development administered the social housing register and Hous- ing New Zealand was not the only provider.
Most fellow mayoral candidates were in agreement with Tana.
Euon Murrell said, ’’I never miss a chance to exert whatever pressure I can on government ministers, as well as Housing New Zealand, on these matters. As mayor, I will redouble such efforts.’’
David Watt said, ‘‘If any of these empty houses are fit for human habitation, it is callous to have them sitting empty in the midst of a housing crisis. Our community needs Housing New Zealand to be the best landlord possible.’’
Mike Duncan said he had spent time recently in eastern Porirua, and was appalled.
‘‘I could not believe the number of empty units and houses I saw - row after row, some boarded up, some just being left to rot. It’s a disgrace and one that should shame this government into action.’’
Gordon Marshall said the empty houses only told part of the story. ‘‘There are also houses out there that are moving towards becoming unfit and these need to be addressed with equal importance.’’
However, Liz Kelly said Tana had his facts wrong.
‘‘Porirua is not classed as an urgent case for housing shortages based on MSD data. The issue in Porirua is about overcrowding, generally due to financial constraints, not shortages. Porirua has complexities that needs more attention than demanding state houses are opened.’’
From left, Jan Logie, Mike Tana and Kris Faafoi out and about on Thursday in Porirua East.