INDEPENDENT NEWS

Housing NZ: privatisation by stealth

Published: Tue 9 Nov 1999 03:02 PM
Housing New Zealand's plans to transfer the management of 1000 South Auckland state houses to a private property management company are further evidence of National's intention to privatise state housing, says Labour housing spokesperson Graham Kelly.
The corporation has confirmed it plans to transfer the management of 1000 houses - 750 in Counties-Manukau and 250 in Papatoetoe, Otara and Mangere - to Crocker Property Management, part of the large Auckland-based Crocker Group.
"This is privatisation through the back door," Mr Kelly says. "The strategy is clearly to contract out management of the properties as a first step towards transferring ownership. These contracts are an attempt by National to lock in unaffordable market rents, which will also lock in overcrowding and poverty.
"Tony Ryall admitted in August in answer to a Parliamentary question that 360 South Auckland houses had been transferred to Crockers. Now we find out the total will be 1000. If we leave him in charge, how many will it be next month, or next year?
"Labour says these houses should be managed to meet social needs, not for commercial gain. Labour in Government will review all such management contracts. We are opposed to these arrangements and do not intend to let them continue.
"The chairman and chief executive of Housing NZ assured me and Labour leader Helen Clark recently that there would be no more bulk sales of state houses before the election, considering that there could be a change of government.
"Despite that assurance the Government is clearly determined to shed responsibility for public housing through this back-door method.
"Tony Ryall's flippant denials fly in the face of the evidence. We know discussions are under way with other private property management companies about managing all remaining state houses. The strategy is clear. National has no interest in providing state housing for low-income families and wants to wash its hands of the entire public housing estate."

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