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State house sell-off just asset stripping

New figures in Housing New Zealand’s Annual Report show the Government is continuing to sell-down the state housing stock, undermining National’s supposed commitment to helping families in need, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“In the past year, Housing New Zealand sold or gave up the leases on 130 more houses than it acquired. Bill English claims that the government is building more state houses but the truth is its still asset stripping Housing New Zealand.

“HNZ sold or ended leases on 925 houses last year while building or starting leases on only 795. This excludes the Tamaki Redevelopment transfer, of 2,708 houses, to another government-owned company.

“The mess that Housing New Zealand has made of meth testing means the 558 state houses currently left empty are sitting empty for longer. The average state house vacancy is 38 days long, up from 34 last year. Housing New Zealand failed to meet its target occupancy rate of 98%, with 4% of state houses empty at any one time. Hundreds of state houses are sitting empty needlessly because of botched meth tests.

“This makes a joke of National’s new emergency housing policy. With fewer state houses, it’s getting harder to find permanent housing for families in need. Emergency housing is just a stop-gap measure.

“To truly tackle homelessness, we need Labour’s plan to build 100,000 affordable homes for families to buy and build thousands of state houses for families in need,” says Mr Twyford.