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.