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Desperate families deserve solutions, not spreadsheets

Published: Mon 26 Aug 2013 12:30 PM
Desperate families deserve solutions, not another spreadsheet
Instead of dealing with the increasing number of vacant state houses on its books the Government has changed the way it records vacant homes, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.
“With waiting list numbers for state homes up 53 per cent since January 2012 the growing need for affordable housing is palpable.
“Families are turning to Housing New Zealand in droves while hundreds of safe and secure state rentals sit empty.
“But instead of finding solutions and filling vacant homes, Housing Minister Nick Smith has opted for a quick-fix, changing the definition of what is classed as a ‘lettable’ home instead.
“Housing New Zealand’s latest data shows the definition of a state house that is ready to rent has changed from ‘lettable’ to ‘short term vacant’. Within this category two new subcategories were also created named ‘under repair’ and ‘ready to let’.
“This is Government butt-covering at its best. It makes a mockery of the need for secure housing that thousands of vulnerable families face every day.
“Nick Smith is tackling the definition not the problem, another sign of mismanagement of a critical social service.
“Today there are still 3,597 vacant homes, up 37% on January 2012 .Of these, 1591 are now categorised as ‘short term vacant’, 1180 are ‘under repair’ and 411 are ‘ready to let’.
“Leaving well over a thousand properties empty for ‘minor repairs’ and another 400 ready to be let sitting empty is not acceptable.
“New Zealand is a DIY nation. Kiwis rightly expect that the state landlord can keep its house in order so that it can fulfil its obligations to our most vulnerable families,” Phil Twyford said.
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