Greens call for ring-fencing of state home proceeds

The Government must ring-fence the proceeds of any state home sales and spend every dollar raised on more Government-built homes in order to address the housing crisis, the Green Party says.

Prime Minister John Key has indicated that his first major speech of the year will deal with housing, after Ministers last year admitted huge numbers of state homes could be on the block and aspects of state housing transferred to charities.

“John Key will never be able to house the growing numbers of New Zealanders who don’t have a stable home, unless he builds more homes than he is taking away,” Green Party Housing spokesperson Kevin Hague said.

“National must come clean tomorrow about its plans for the proceeds of the sale of state homes – an asset which generations of us have built up with the aim of ensuring the welfare of all New Zealanders.

“Selling state homes is another sale of state assets, and we need to know what will happen to the proceeds.

“Simply shifting responsibility for housing vulnerable Kiwis on to charities, and banking the cash from the fire sale of housing, won’t solve anything.

“Nearly 5000 families were on the waiting list for a state home in December, and the census showed over 200,000 people in Auckland, including around 63,000 children, were now living in a crowded household.

“These children are at growing risk of diseases like rheumatic fever and other diseases of over-crowding, which are at third world levels in New Zealand. These kids don’t need to be made the responsibility of a charity – they need a real, tangible place to call home.

“New Zealand’s housing crisis is caused fundamentally by a lack of affordable homes. Selling off state homes so developers can make money by sitting on the land, or building more expensive homes, can’t possibly be the answer,” Mr Hague said.