Protest at empty plots
‘‘In 2008, they were bulldozed.’’
Empty Housing New Zealand plots sit idle while the homeless have nowhere to go, church community groups say.
Four protests on Sunday lamented empty sections in Strathmore, Lower Hutt, Porirua and Palmerston North, calling for more social housing.
St Anne’s Anglican Church member Jessica Dove London was one of the 100 who attended the Porirua protest.
The site used to be 27 units of social housing, she said.
‘‘In 2008, they were bulldozed. All those people lost that com- munity, their connections and that sense of stability,’’ she said.
Anglican Bishop of Wellington Justin Duckworth said the empty land was a symbol of inaction while others struggled.
Earlier this year, the Government announced a new programme of building in the Hutt Valley.
A Housing NZ spokesman said it was already working on development plans for two of the sites where the Anglican Church held services on Sunday: Castor Crescent in Porirua and Cambridge Terrace in Lower Hutt.
He said it met church representatives last week to discuss the plots’ future. ‘‘The Castor Crescent site has the potential for around 30 new homes.
‘‘It’s likely that many of these will be one-bedroom homes, as nearly half of Porirua’s current social housing demand is from individuals or couples with no children.’’
Options for the Cambridge Terrace site in Lower Hutt, were part of master-planning for the wider Epuni area, he said. It had the potential for up to 200 new homes.