Govt must rule out selling state homes for developers to profit

The Government must rule out selling state homes for private developers to profit from, the Green Party said today.

“The Government looks set to sell off these assets to property developers, and then pay the same developers to house low income tenants through the Income Related Rent Subsidy. It’s a perverse money-go-round in which only the developers win,” Green Party housing spokesperson Kevin Hague said.

“New Zealand has built up a valuable stock of state houses that meets a need for affordable housing in the community and also returns a dividend to the Government.

“Bill English’s comment that selling state homes to private developers is ‘perfectly logical’ is misguided and exposes the Government’s ideologically driven policy to sell off state homes so that property developers can cash in. Tenants and taxpayers will pay the price.

“In January, John Key said ex-state houses ‘will have to stay in social housing unless the Government agrees otherwise’ – it seems that just two months later the Government has now ‘agreed otherwise’, and will be flogging off state homes to the highest bidder.

“The Government’s policy will lead to more empty homes, according to MBIE advice released to the Green Party, even while vulnerable families are waiting for a good home.

“Meanwhile, people who live in state homes have a huge question mark hanging over their future, and have to put up with $1.2 billion of deferred maintenance while the Government scrambles to find a buyer for their homes.

“The Green Party’s Home for Life policies would provide meaningful and evidence-based solutions to the housing crisis.

“The Green Party would upgrade and add to the state housing stock, creating healthy, energy-efficient, and affordable homes, which tenants would have the opportunity to purchase over time.

“Fundamentally, New Zealand needs more affordable houses. This fact is overlooked in the Government’s grand state home sell-off,” Mr Hague said.