INDEPENDENT NEWS

CHAG seeks answers to empty pensioner housing

Published: Mon 23 Sep 2002 08:25 AM
The Council Housing Action Group (CHAG) is seeking answers as to why two Auckland City Council pensioner sites have been emptied.
The group is concerned that the sites have been deliberately cleared in order that they can be sold to private developers. Yet this contravenes the final Council resolution after the annual plan hearings in June which stated that no move would be made to “any implementation of the phased withdrawal strategy” until Government interest was established. No announcement has been made that these negotiations have concluded, so what is going on?
“Auckland can not afford to reduce the number of properties in the public sector. Affordability problems in Auckland are projected to increase by at least 50% in the next 15-20 years. The private sector will never be able to provide decent affordable housing for low income households. This has the feel of some back door deal being done to appease private developers,” said Sigrid Shayer, CHAG spokesperson.
The pensioner site at 30 Esperance Road, Glendowie is already empty and 12 Exminster Street, Blockhouse Bay is almost empty. The group understands that these sites were some of the worst quality, and that most pensioners were offered superior accommodation in nearby sites, but the apparent underhand nature of the clearances creates suspicion.
“If Housing New Zealand were to successfully conclude a deal with Auckland City Council we would expect the same number of properties to be retained, either through refurbishment or new build,” said Sigrid Shayer. “So, what is intended for these empty sites?”

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