Govt won’t rule out state-house sales to non-resident foreign buyers

Bill English’s refusal in Parliament today to rule out selling state houses to non-resident foreign individuals or groups, or put a restriction on those groups selling them on for non-social housing use, demonstrates that the Government’s “social housing reform” is just a state house sell off.

“Make no mistake about it – New Zealand is for sale and vulnerable Kiwis’ lives could be in the hands of companies or business owners who are in the social-housing ‘game’ to land bank and turn a profit down the track,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

“Bill English’s admission that he wants houses to be sold on shows that current state house tenants will have no security of tenure in the medium to long term.

“We have to ask ourselves why these non-resident off-shore investors would possibly want to be social housing landlords in New Zealand.

“Is it because they genuinely care about providing a good service to vulnerable, needy Kiwis or is it because they’re snapping them up with the intention of waiting for the properties to appreciate in value, before selling them on as soon as they can.

“National’s state-house sell-off isn’t about providing a better or more efficient service, or any of the other lines they’ve spouted so far – it’s about money, pure and simple.

“The Government’s ideological desire to have a market-driven ‘open and competitive’ sales process means that anybody, anywhere in the world, could end up owning our valuable state assets and become landlords to some of our most vulnerable people.

 “What incentive do non-resident foreign organisations have to provide the social services vulnerable Kiwis need if they’re counting down the days to they can sell their properties?

“The Government’s state-house sell-off policy is a disaster for vulnerable New Zealanders and it’s time the Government called it what it really is ­– a land grab,” said Mrs Turei.