Despite the housing shortage, more than 250 state houses have been sitting empty for over a year as Bill English tries to sell them, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.
Housing New Zealand documents obtained under the Official Information Act show that there are nearly 2,500 empty state houses, more than 500 of which have been empty for over a year. Of those long-term vacant state houses, 254 are empty pending sale. Others are in need of repairs or upgrades.
“In the middle of a housing shortage, why on Earth is Bill English leaving state houses empty why he tries to sell them? We should be building houses, not leaving the ones we do have vacant.
“There are nearly 5,000 families waiting for state houses, up by more than a third in the past year.
“We know what Bill English will say – the same old excuse that these are the ‘wrong houses, in the wrong places’. Well, any house would be welcome for kids living in tents. The truth is, most of the houses Bill English is selling are in cities with long waiting lists for state housing.
“With the housing shortage growing by over 40 houses a day, the very least Bill English could do is get those houses filled straight away.
“Labour will build thousands more state houses and end National’s policy of taking a dividend out of Housing New Zealand, as part of our comprehensive plan to end the housing crisis,” says Andrew Little.