Government must lift social housing supply, not shuffle the deck chairs

National's decision to shift the state provision of housing to third parties is a smokescreen for the Government decreasing the provision of affordable housing, the Green Party said today.

"What National should be doing is increasing the supply of both social and state housing," Green Party housing spokesperson Jan Logie said.

"Newly appointed Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett admits that the demand for state housing exceeds the supply. There are currently over 3,000 applicants with a severe and persistent need for housing, which is unacceptable.

"Paula Bennett said the government plans to retreat from state housing in favour of third parties.

"Co-convenor for the Child Poverty Action Group, Alan Johnson, has said that a transfer of state to social housing doesn't address the wider problem.

"He notes the real problem is the Government isn't planning to add anything to the stock of social housing and what the Government is doing is 'just a distraction'," Ms Logie said.

"The issue in Auckland and Christchurch is there simply isn't enough stock and buying a house has become unaffordable under National.

"The Government is in the best position to increase the supply of housing, which is urgently needed. We need to increase the supply not just move the limited stock we have from State to community.

"With 35 percent of New Zealanders now renting against 25 percent in 1990, New Zealand should emulate countries in Europe and the UK where a state-provided rental can be a home for life. Compared to these countries, New Zealand has very low levels of state housing."