State house sell off will make transience worse

The National Government’s plans to sell off state housing will increase the rate of transience among the poorest families, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

The Growing Up in New Zealand study released today reveals families with children under two move house much more than previously thought, and more often than families in other countries.

“Low-income families are already bearing the brunt of the housing crisis, moving from place to place as they search for somewhere affordable to live, often staying with relatives, and crowded into garages.

“Some of the schools in my electorate in West Auckland tell me half their roll turns over each year. This level of transience stops kids achieving at school and locks them into a cycle of disadvantage.

“Now National wants to sell off state houses and switch to a system of subsidies for landlords. This will create even more insecurity for the 4 per cent of Kiwi families, often the poorest, who now live in state houses.

“National is also deliberately making state house tenants, including families with young children, more insecure by kicking them out if they commit the sin of earning enough to pay a market rent.

“Instead of putting struggling families under even more stress, National should build more state houses rather than selling them off to landlords and property developers.

“The Government should exempt families with young children from its callous and bureaucratic policy of evicting tenants able to afford market rents.

“It should also change the law to give the one-third of Kiwis who are renters more security of tenure. New Zealand is an outlier internationally, with tenants having minimal rights and able to be evicted within 90 days for no reason.”