Nick Smith hides shameful vacant house numbers

Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford has lodged an official complaint against Housing Minister Nick Smith with Parliament’s Speaker for refusing to release data on the number of vacant state houses around the country.

“Nick Smith is clearly embarrassed by the high number of Housing NZ properties lying empty and boarded up. The total was 2,734 back in May when the Minister last released the numbers,” says Phil Twyford.

“It is a travesty that National should allow so many houses to lie vacant in the middle of a housing crisis when so many people desperately need a roof over their heads.

“But that is no excuse for Nick Smith to withhold that information from the public.

“I have routinely been provided this information by the Minister’s office in the past. But on the eve of the election campaign Dr Smith seems to have shut up shop. Refusing to answer written parliamentary questions is a breach of Parliament’s Standing Orders and that’s why I have complained to the Speaker.

“Attached below is a copy of Dr Smith’s highly selective and partial answer to my question. His office has refused to answer it properly.”

06402 (2014) Published - Housing - Corrected Reply

Question: How many Housing New Zealand homes were recorded as vacant as a number and in percentage of total Housing New Zealand stock, broken down by reason, number of bedrooms, by HNZ Reporting Office and region, and in total, in the month of June 2014 quarter, if any?

Portfolio: Housing

Minister: Hon Dr Nick Smith

Date Lodged:08/07/2014

Answer Text: Housing New Zealand advises that the number of vacant and ready to let properties was 629 properties or 0.92 percent of the total housing stock. The numbers by region are: • Community Group Housing: 9 • East and South Auckland: 105 • Northland and Western and Central Auckland: 128 • Southern Region: 88 • Waikato, Bay of Plenty, East Coast and Taranaki: 78 • Wellington, Manawatu and Hawkes Bay: 221 I do not consider it a good use of Housing New Zealand’s time to break down this information by number of bedrooms. This is also my answer to parliamentary question 06405 (2014).