State houses good start, but not enough

Rotorua Review - - OUT & ABOUT - BENN BATH­GATE

‘‘It doesn't sound like much but it's a start.’’

A good start, but not enough.

That’s been the re­ac­tion to Hous­ing Min­is­ter Phil Twyford’s an­nounce­ment that Ro­torua is set to get eight new state houses by the mid­dle of this year.

Twyford an­nounced the eight new homes as part of pro­gramme that will see 155 new state houses built across 15 re­gional cen­tres.

‘‘This is the first step in build­ing more homes to help those most in need in our re­gions,’’ he an­nounced last week.

‘‘In to­tal, it will build more than 270 bed­rooms for in­di­vid­u­als or fam­i­lies in the ar­eas where they are needed most.’’

He said the homes would be mod­ern, warm and dry and mostly con­sist of one or two bed­room prop­er­ties, with res­i­dents’ ex­pected to be­gin mov­ing in from mid-2018.

For home­less char­ity Love Soup’s trus­tee Elmer Peif­fer how­ever, the eight is ‘‘nowhere near enough’’.

‘‘Look at the num­bers [of home­less] in mo­tel rooms, in tran­sient hous­ing. We need a sup­ply in num­bers that’s go­ing to com­pete with the rental mar­ket.’’

Peif­fer said that while he was ex­pect­ing more from the Labourled Gov­ern­ment, it was early.

‘‘They had a big mess to clear up and you can’t ex­pect mir­a­cles,’’ he said.

Ro­torua MP Todd McClay said that for eight fam­i­lies, the news would be won­der­ful, but the num- ber ‘‘doesn’t even scratch the sur­face’’.

He said he was un­sure whether the eight were part of 117 an­nounced by the pre­vi­ous Na­tional Gov­ern­ment, and that he had been un­able to ob­tain clar­i­fi­ca­tion from Twyford.

‘‘Even if they’re not, 117 plus eight doesn’t even come close enough,’’ he said.

McClay also aimed a barb at Labour Wa­iariki MP Ta­mati Cof­fey, who he said was ‘‘vo­cal on the is­sue of hous­ing’’ dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign.

‘‘Ta­mati Cof­fey needs to de­liver the hun­dreds of houses he promised,’’ he said.

Un­sur­pris­ingly, back.

‘‘It’s eight more than his Gov­ern­ment built in the last eight years. It’s a com­plete turn­around from the last Gov­ern­ment, which sold them off.’’

Cof­fey said there was no ‘‘magic num­ber’’ for new houses and that he was pleased that some would be avail­able in time for win­ter

‘‘It doesn’t sound like much but it’s a start.’’ Cof­fey hit

Hous­ing Min­is­ter Phil Twyford dur­ing a visit to Auck­land last week to an­nounce the new houses. Ta­mati Cof­fey

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