National moves on state house sell off

The Labour Party understands the Government has decided to move ahead with a mass sell-off of state houses.

Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says he has been told by sources that Cabinet agreed the plan for their sell-off this week.

“When put to Bill English in the House, the Minister did not deny it.

“The National Government has not been upfront with New Zealanders about the sale.

“It is one thing to help the Salvation Army and other groups build up their housing stock, but it is another thing altogether to sell off billions of dollars’ worth of state houses on the open market where they can be snapped up by property developers and speculators.

“Letters obtained under the Official Information Act show over the past 18 months National has been planning the state house sell off and telling Housing NZ to get ready for it.

“Last year then Housing Minister Nick Smith told the Housing NZ board:

-       the Government envisioned Housing NZ would be only ‘one of a range of social housing providers’,

-       the Corporation would only be the main provider in the ‘short to medium term’,

-       the Government expected Housing NZ would ‘own a significantly smaller number of houses in 10 years’ time’.

“National never explained the scale of their state house sell-off to the public before this year’s election. Now it’s proceeding to sell thousands of state houses in the middle of a housing crisis when there are already thousands of families on the waiting list, and many more living in garages and campgrounds.

“John Key got a good start in life; partly thanks to the security of a warm, dry home courtesy of the taxpayer. But he is happy to sell off thousands of state houses and deny a new generation of New Zealanders that same opportunity,” Phil Twyford says.