New Zealand Labour Party

Government turns Housing NZ into disarray

The Government has run Housing NZ down and left the organisation in disarray, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“The Auditor General has found ‘significant deficiencies’ in Housing NZ’s management of the $220 million a year it spends on maintenance contractors, after allegations were made about overcharging for work.

“In the middle of a housing shortage, when people are living in cars and campgrounds, Housing NZ has failed woefully to meet its own targets for new builds. In the last year they built only 161 in Christchurch against a target of 281. Over the rest of the country they built only 247 against a target of 549.

“The Corporation has weathered a series of high profile cases of tenants getting sick and even dying in cold, damp, mouldy state houses, including South Auckland toddler Emma-Lita Bourne.

“All this appears to have taken its toll on Housing NZ’s board and senior management, which is operating like a revolving door. In the last year the Corporation had only five of eight board positions filled, and only two board members remaining from the previous year. The chief executive has just resigned, and four of the six general manager roles were until recently in acting positions. This has to ring alarm bells about the state of Housing NZ.

“The Government continues to take hundreds of millions of dollars in dividends out of Housing NZ, is forcibly divesting billions of dollars of its assets and the Ministry of Social Development has taken over many of its functions.

“This disarray in the country’s state housing agency is a legacy of National’s policy of running the organisation down and privatising its assets,” Phil Twyford says