New Zealand Labour Party

Serious risks to tenants and assets in sell-off

Overseas evidence shows there are serious risks around the Government's plan to sell off state houses to social housing providers, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says.

“In the Netherlands – where community housing providers supply the majority of social housing – there has been massive mismanagement in recent years. This has included cost blow outs, allegations of personal enrichment and €1.2 billion of losses which resulted in thousands of houses being sold to foreign speculators.

“The recent OECD report on the NZ economy in its section on housing mentioned the Netherlands and highlighted its government's failure to focus on outcomes for its tenants and inadequate measures to prevent private operators taking excessive financial risks.

“It is concerning that Bill English has cited the Netherlands as an example of what the Government is trying to do with its social housing reforms.

“In its desperation to make its deeply-flawed ideologically-driven policy work, National is now looking to sell state houses to Australian company Horizon Homes. It follows the Salvation Army – New Zealand’s our most respected social agency – saying they don’t want a bar of it because it will not help state housing tenants.

“It is the job of the Government to provide housing for our most vulnerable citizens. Housing NZ has been looking after such tenants for the past 80 years and National has given no reason why this work should be handed over to an Australian company.

“Once these properties are bought by overseas investors they will be lost from New Zealand forever. This is an asset sale by stealth.

“A safer option is for the Government to lease the houses to community providers to supply maintenance and tenancy services so these valuable assets remain in taxpayer hands,” Andrew Little says.