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The City of Sales and Salesmen

Published: Fri 4 Oct 2002 11:11 AM
The City of Sales and Salesmen
Mayor John Banks said earlier in the year he would gladly sell Auckland’s council houses to the government for just a $1. What happened to that? Ever the salesman!
He also has the gall to talk about social justice inherent in the sale. Without public opposition and pressure he and his council would have been quite happy to sell these houses off to the private sector. His Council specifically voted in March this year not to allow HNZ first option to buy before putting the houses on the open market, and now John Banks is saying HNZ was always the “hoped for” purchaser.
His council has also increased pensioner rents by 50%. Many pensioners are experiencing increasing hardship because of the inadequacies of the accommodation supplement, a benefit which Councillor David Hay mistakenly trumpets as meeting the costs of the rental increase. The meagre supplement is then abated starting with as little as $2,700 in the bank. Pensioners will continue under this ‘social justice’ under March 1 next year when HNZ formally takes over as landlord.
While the Council Housing Action Group is very relieved that the houses will remain in the public sector, the values of this Council need to be challenged.

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