Labour will change Housing NZ from a corporation to a public service and use the dividends it formerly paid into the Crown coffers to maintain and build more state houses, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.
“Housing NZ should have one job - to house people in need. Instead, National has used Housing NZ to profit from the most vulnerable and turned it into a glorified property management company.
“The Government is using the corporation as a cash cow as it sells-off state houses. Since National came to office it has taken $664 million from Housing NZ in dividends and has only put in $141 million – meaning it has stripped $523 million out of the corporation.
“Being restored as a public service which isn’t required to pay dividends means Housing NZ will have more money to ensure existing state homes are warm and dry, and build new state houses.
“We have seen the tragic consequences of damp and mouldy houses. Never again should a state house be in such dire repair that it makes its tenants sick.
“National has reduced the number of state houses by more than 2500 since 2011. Labour will stop National’s state house sell-off and commit to substantially increase the number of state houses.
“These changes would also mean policy and housing assessment functions would once again be carried out by Housing NZ instead of by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Ministry of Social Development.
“Ensuring that Housing NZ focuses on people, not profits, is an essential part in addressing the housing crisis.
“With thousands of needy families on the waiting list for a state house – and the homeless waiting an average of more than five months for housing – there has never been a more important time to make these changes,” Andrew Little says.