Govt should abandon state-house sell-off

The Green Party is calling on the Government to go back to the drawing board on state housing, following Bill English’s admission that he’s now looking at leasing the houses out because there’s little interest from community groups in buying them.

“Bill English was banking on there being lots of interest in buying these properties and now that he’s been proved wrong, he’s trying to make do by offering to lease them out to whoever’s interested,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

“Instead of just wantonly offering them up to be leased, Bill English should investigate what approach might actually benefit state house tenants – after all, that’s what he’s maintained is the point of the sell-off experiment.

“The Government’s fixation with selling off state houses has meant that it’s been unwilling and unable to properly look at what wrap-around services might make life better for families living in state houses.

“Instead of just consulting with his friends in Treasury over how a state-house sell-off might help the Government’s books look better, Bill English should be engaging with community organisations over how they can work with the Government to help our most vulnerable people.

“You can’t do that by selling or leasing the houses off at bargain-basement prices, handing the keys over and washing your hands of any responsibility, which is what this Government is desperate to do.

“Bill English has had his ideological blinkers on this entire time, and now he’s being forced to backtrack.

“If this Government truly had the best interests of New Zealanders at heart, it would immediately call time on selling state houses off and start looking at meaningful ways it can work with community organisations to make life better for families living in these properties.

“It’s time to admit once and for all that this is an asset sale gone bad and that it would be better for everyone if state houses stayed in Government hands,” said Mrs Turei.