17 March 2017 MEDIA STATEMENT
New figures from Housing New Zealand (HNZ) concerning their policy on vacant state houses reveal how National’s social housing plan is letting down those in need in Gisborne, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri.
“Last month Labour revealed that 27 of the 38 HNZ state houses around the country that have been empty for three years or more are in Gisborne, with 16 of those ‘pending sale’.
“HNZ have now advised me that 17 of the total 26 vacant properties shown as pending sale in September have been returned to the letting pool due to increased demand and the remaining nine “may be returned” if there is an established demand.
“It’s great they’ve pulled those properties back, but I have to ask: What took so long?
“It seems clear to me there has been and still is ongoing demand; why don’t HNZ pull the other nine vacant properties back now?
“In Gisborne we have had a minimum 31 whanau in serious housing need on the Social Housing Register since the June 2014 quarter.
“Between March and June 2015 this figure soared up to 59, and has increased significantly with 88 in serious need in the December 2016 quarter.
“I’ve also been advised that of the 10 vacant properties in the ‘other’ category, nine are undergoing repairs or upgrades; these are properties which have been vacant for over three years.
“It’s absurd that in the middle of a housing crisis, this National government – supported by the Maori Party who voted for the sell-off last year – are leaving state houses empty while they try to sell them.
“Only last week Social Housing Minister Amy Adams admitted three new towns are being eyed up for another round of state house sell-offs.
“They will have a fight on their hands if they try to sell state houses in Gisborne or anywhere in Ikaroa-Rāwhiti.
“National’s failed housing policies are leaving thousands of families a month in desperate need of a stable roof over their heads.
“Labour has a plan to address the housing crisis. We will build thousands more state houses and end National’s policy of taking a dividend out of HNZ,” says Meka Whaitiri.