22 January 2016 MEDIA STATEMENT
Paula Bennett’s plan to offer cash incentives to prospective state house tenants willing to move out of Auckland has had the unintended consequence of highlighting what little the Government has done for provinces like Hawke’s Bay, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri.
“Since this half-baked housing policy was announced, it has been met with disbelief at the lack of thought gone into it,” says Meka Whaitiri.
“The Mayors of Waitaki, Ashburton and Porirua, as well as organisations like Auckland Action Against Poverty, the Council of Christian Social Services and Oamaru Salvation Army have all expressed serious concerns about the logic of encouraging the poor and vulnerable to relocate to regions which are already under pressure with high unemployment.
“In Hawke’s Bay, National MP Craig Foss has applauded the plan and encouraged those on the state housing list in Auckland to move here.
“We have over 3,100 people on Jobseeker support in the Bay, and housing data out today reveals that Hastings and Napier have state housing waiting lists of 91 and 104 respectively.
“Craig Foss should be standing up for the Bay and demanding a real plan for our region, not welcoming a potential new set of problems.
“I’m all for people moving to the Bay, but first we need to make sure there are sustainable, decent jobs, and social services ready and able to assist them. The Government needs a smart, effective plan for housing and regional growth – this is no plan for either,” says Meka Whaitiri.