INDEPENDENT NEWS

Labour Won't Accept Housing Recommendation

Published: Thu 10 Oct 2002 05:26 PM
Labour Won't Accept Housing Recommendation
ACT New Zealand Housing Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today applauded the Ombudsman for his common sense in recommending the Ministry of Social Development to provide courts with address details of beneficiaries who owe money to private landlords.
"This is a major embarrassment for the Government, which has snuggled up to tenancy advocacy groups and lashed out at private property owners at every opportunity.
"Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey's stonewalling of the Ombudsman is reprehensible. Mr Maharey is being grossly irresponsible to force court action because he refuses to accept the Ombudsman's recommendation.
"The Government's window dressing measure of establishing a "data matching programme" is nothing more than procrastination.
"Landlords owed money have to provide the court bailiff with the tenant's new address. It is a fraught and often impossible task. When a tenant is a beneficiary, the Department of Work and Income refuses to provide address information to an officer of the courts. The Department cites the Privacy Act, even though they provide the address if the order is for a criminal offence rather than a civil one.
"The ACT party has a fundamental belief in upholding the rule of law. We recognise that the majority of the 40,000 applications every year to the Tenancy Tribunal are from landlords seeking justice from tenants who leave without paying the rent or compensating for damage to the property
"Labour has allowed the justice arm of Government to be thwarted by its own department, and today Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey has chosen to prolong the unfairness inflicted on private landlords," Dr Newman said.

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