The Green Party is calling for the Government to stop extracting a multimillion-dollar dividend from Housing New Zealand in the name of “discipline”, while the country is in the grips of a housing emergency.
“We have people sleeping in cars, in garages and on the streets, and all Bill English cares about is teaching Housing New Zealand a lesson or two,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.
“Making Housing New Zealand hand over its dividend while thousands of people don’t have a roof over their heads isn’t discipline – it’s cruel and unusual punishment.
“Homeless New Zealanders are suffering because of this Government’s ludicrous attachment to ‘disciplining’ Housing New Zealand, rather than just letting it build more houses with the money it’s already made.
“Housing New Zealand is forecast to make a dividend of $118 million and pay $89 million in taxes in 2015/2016. All of that money is disappearing into the Government’s accounts, and potentially none of it is being spent on building new houses.
“The Government’s compassion and common sense has gone right out the door when it comes to dealing with the housing crisis.
“Housing New Zealand has the money to build more houses for our most vulnerable people, the Government just needs to empower it to do so.
“The Green Party’s Homes Not Cars policy would see Housing New Zealand retain its dividend this financial year, as well as receive a tax return, with all $207 million of that money going towards building around 450 new state houses.
“The Government can ensure all New Zealanders live in a warm, safe, dry home – it just needs to decide to make that happen,” said Mrs Turei.