An asset sale is an asset sale is…

Paula Bennett’s admission that the Government’s state housing sell off is an asset sale shows John Key’s promise that there would be no more asset sales wasn’t worth the paper it was written on, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says.

“Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett admitted today that National’s plan to sell down the country’s state housing stock could be described as an asset sale.

“That completely contradicts the Prime Minister’s pre-election promise that the sale of Genesis Energy was the end of his asset sales policy because there was ‘little left worth selling’.

“Dressing it up as anything other than an asset sale is duplicitous. The Housing NZ portfolio is worth $15.1 billion and is described in official documents as the Government's second largest asset.

“Certainly there is nothing wrong with selling some houses that are not fit for purpose if more are going to be built, but selling up to 20,000 homes to private providers is a whole-sale sell down however Ms Bennett and Mr Key try to spin it.

“Not once has the Government mentioned a partnership with local government in social housing as Labour had with Wellington City Council which saw hundreds of units refurbished.

“Nor has it said the money from selling these houses will be re-invested in the sector.

“People are living in cars and garages and in caravans in camping grounds. The Government doesn’t have a mandate for this asset sale.

 “It is washing its hands of responsibility for housing our most vulnerable New Zealanders and it is selling another asset, built up over many years and owned by all Kiwis,” Annette King said.