Government spend up on state house sell off

The Government has spent $28.9 million and has 129 officials working on its misguided state house sell-off, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. 

“This is a scandalous waste of taxpayers’ money on a policy that won’t deliver a single extra house at a time when vulnerable Kiwi families are living in cars and garages.

“Instead of throwing good money after bad policy, it is time the Government pulled the plug on its state house sell-off, and started building some houses. 

“Figures obtained by Labour under the Official Information Act show $26.7 million has been spent on consultants. $2.2 million has been spent on the sale process in Tauranga and Invercargill. Last week’s budget saw another $7.5 million allocated. 

“It is obscene National has spent $26 million on consultants advising them how to sell state houses, while they are hounding homeless people to pay back massive debts racked up by WINZ putting them into motels because there aren’t any houses. 

“Unbelievably the Government has 129 officials beavering away on how to flog off publicly owned land and homes that should be used to house the homeless. 

“This is a bad policy. Instead of selling off the houses to merchant bankers and overseas companies, the Government should be building desperately needed state homes. 

“As if that wasn’t enough, they are throwing money at the sell-off like there’s no tomorrow.   

“It is yet another housing fiasco on this Government’s watch. First the Government tried to spin the sell-off by saying the Salvation Army was lining up to buy the houses. Then the Sallies and other social service groups ruled themselves out. 

“Then the Auditor General rapped the Government over the knuckles for not following its own rules on contracting and conflict of interest in relation to the $2.3 million of contracts it awarded to merchant banker Andrew Body. 

“On Friday the Government was embarrassed into admitting that the second large community housing provider had pulled out of the sales process leaving the remaining bidders dominated by offshore companies and investment funds," says Phil Twyford.

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