The Tribune (NZ) - - CONVERSATIONS -

The present hous­ing re­forms have been billed as a help­ing hand to un­for­tu­nate peo­ple trapped in poverty. Poverty and inequal­ity have in­creased to an un­ac­cept­able level in most peo­ple’s minds, and ten­ants con­tinue to bear the brunt of a bro­ken sys­tem.

The Manawatu Ten­ants Union has been deal­ing with in­creas­ing num­bers of fam­i­lies who are part of the in­vis­i­ble home­less. That’s moth­ers stay­ing with friends, sleep­ing on the floor or the couch, while their chil­dren are stay­ing with fam­ily or other friends around the city.

Hous­ing New Zealand is car­ry­ing out ran­dom tests on their prop­er­ties for the drug P, and if the tests prove pos­i­tive, the fam­ily have to move out for health rea­sons. In many, if not most cases the the ten­ants in­volved are not of­fered a trans­fer and are barred from ap­ply­ing for a state home for years.

This is a form a form of state cleans­ing based on the as­sump­tion that the tenant is guilty of us­ing P in the home. Th­ese traces linger in a home for years un­til a test is car­ried out. The tenant who is on the ten­ancy agree­ment is re­spon­si­ble for the use of the prop­erty. It should be noted none of th­ese ten­ants have been charged by the po­lice, yet many end up home­less on th­ese as­sump­tions.

Some ten­ants are now hav­ing to pay for the cost of the clean up. Th­ese are peo­ple who are al­ready strug­gling to make ends meet. Some­thing has to change as this prob­lem with P is wide­spread in the pri­vate sec­tor, yet all we hear about is state ten­ants.

Kevin Reilly Manawatu Ten­ants Union

A warn­ing about the de­graded na­ture of the Manawatu River near its mouth at the Fox­ton Loop.

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