Government must stop state house sell-off

The Government must immediately pull the plug on its planned sell-off of state houses in order to stop the housing crisis getting any worse, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“While Paula Bennett is putting people into transit camps in Auckland, and families are living in cars, it is madness to be flogging off thousands of state houses.

“National is in the process of selling 1,100 state houses in Tauranga to consortia dominated by merchant bankers and offshore companies. Their policy is to sell 8,000 state homes by 2017.

“Bill English is now promising to build more state houses, but he needs to be up-front and tell New Zealanders whether he is still going ahead with the sell-off.

“His promise of 5,000 new houses has little credibility when he only managed to build just over half of the 2,000 houses he promised to deliver by the end of last year.

“English is so embarrassed by the performance of Joyce, Bennett and Smith in this ongoing fiasco he rushed out this announcement yesterday without even a press release. It didn’t even rise to the status of a Ministerial tweet.

“Targets for new building are irrelevant if National continues to sell off large numbers of state houses. It is the total number of houses available that counts – since 2011 National has run down the stock by 2600.

“National has allowed the housing crisis to spiral out of control, and now they are flailing around making policy on the hoof on a daily basis. Steven Joyce is tweeting $92 million budget announcements. Nick Smith is putting more money into homebuyer subsidies only a year after the policy was last updated because Auckland house prices have outstripped the thresholds.

“Paula Bennett putting people into transit camps in our country’s biggest city is a tragic indicator of how bad things have got under this Government.

“Instead of this frenetic poll-driven tinkering, National needs to commit to build 100,000 affordable homes, crack down on speculators, and call off its state-house sell off,” Phil Twyford says.

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