State house sell off in disarray after provider pulls out

 The Government should cancel its planned sell-off of state houses after the second big community housing provider pulled out leaving the process in disarray, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. 

“It is time for the Government to back away from its misguided quest to sell off billions of dollars of land and housing desperately needed for vulnerable Kiwis in the middle of a housing crisis. 

“It is grotesque to be flogging off state houses to overseas companies when Kiwi families are living in cars and garages. On top of that, the Government’s sales process has driven out local community housing groups, leaving the field open to merchant bankers and offshore companies. 

“That is exactly what has happened in Tauranga where the Wairarapa-based Trust House – one of the biggest community-based housing landlords – recently pulled out of the process leaving the field open for merchant bankers and overseas investors. 

“Southland-based social service provider PACT was the only shortlisted bidder for the 342 state houses for sale in Invercargill. 

“Community housing providers are saying the Government’s sales process is bureaucratic, risky and expensive, with them having to fork out up to a million dollars just to be in the process which is completely unsuitable for local community organisations. 

“It makes a mockery of the Government’s spin that the state sell off was all about helping build up local Kiwi community housing providers. After the Salvation Army and Methodist Mission ruled themselves out of the sales process, it became very clear this whole exercise has nothing at all to do with getting community housing groups to take on this work.

 “This is an omni-shambles. It is a bad policy. It has been implemented incompetently. It is time to go back to the drawing board,” says Phil Twyford.