Housing Warrant Of Fitness : FAILED

Labour Housing spokesperson Annette King has put Housing Minister Phil Heatley to the test and asked; would New Zealand’s biggest landlord pass a housing warrant of fitness?

Phil Heatley’s handling of his housing portfolio this year has been anything but healthy. On inspection repair costs out-weigh any benefits.

What taxpayers desperately need is a fresh start and a safe pair of hands at the wheel.

Written off: National’s housing policy consists of what exactly?  More inquiries, more evaluations, tinkering with the consent process and “looking at” productivity in the construction sector? Four years on and housing is less affordable.

Maintenance:  Too many homes are cold, damp and in disrepair. 44 per cent of our rental properties are in poor condition and one third are deemed to have inadequate or non-existent heating.  Bill English even said that the Government is the biggest slum landlord – he’s right.

Running Performance: Cost-cutting at Housing New Zealand created call-centre chaos. With waiting times of up to 25 minutes Phil Heatley’s ‘smarter, fairer, faster’ slogan took the ‘service’ out of public service.

Rust damage: 20 years ago 40% of houses built were affordable to first home buyers.  Less than 5% of properties today are entry-level - meaning young Kiwis are losing sight of the dream of home ownership.

Handling: The Minister is not on top of his portfolio. Bill English even had to step in and announce the housing productivity policy.

Repair work not carried out correctly: To make up for not answering written questions on time Mr Heatley blamed his staff for ‘their’ oversight, and as a result, he got a telling off from the Speaker.

The Minister needs to do better in 2013 or the housing crisis will swamp him completely and he’ll find himself on the ‘Endangered Ministers’ list, along with Hekia Parata.