Sandra is a senior crimes and justice reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Mum finds competition stiff in quest for home

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Mazz Adams and her six children are faced with living in tent if they cannot find anywhere to live by June 9. Photo / George Novak
Mazz Adams and her six children are faced with living in tent if they cannot find anywhere to live by June 9. Photo / George Novak

Tauranga solo mother Mazz Adams knows first-hand how desperate it is for some families struggling to put a roof over their heads.

Ms Adams said the deadline was looming for her and her six children, aged between 7 and 19, to move out of the rental property they had called home for the past four-and-a-half years.

"We need to get out by June 9 after being given 90 days' notice by our landlord, who wants to sell after doing some renovations." She said she had her name down with real estate firms in town, but when she turned up for a viewing there were six to 10 other families doing the same.

Ms Adams was paying $300 a week rent and was faced with paying up to $160 a week more for somewhere suitable if she was even offered a place.

"I'm so desperate I'd even be prepared to move into a two-bedroom house."

She was on Housing New Zealand's priority-need waiting list.

"At the moment our only option if we can't find another place is pitching a tent somewhere."

She wanted the Government to take steps to solve the district's "housing crisis". As a Merivale Community Centre Board trustee, she knew of people living in their cars, garages and tents.

Ms Adams said Prime Minister John Key kept telling people to go to Work and Income, so they can then assist with getting a Housing NZ house.

"But ... people just get shuffled between government departments and nothing gets solved."

English focused on land availability for housing

Finance Minister Bill English.
Finance Minister Bill English.

In a pre-Budget speech last week, Finance Minister Bill English said Budget 2016 would include a wide range of initiatives.

Mr English said there was no quick fix to housing affordability problems.

"Our longstanding view has been that what matters most for housing affordability is supply, particularly land availability, the speed and efficiency of consenting and council infrastructure.

"Demand measures can help at the margin. In fact the Government already spends more than $2 billion a year on housing assistance. In the end what matters most is the ability to build houses.

"But this isn't a problem extra money in the Budget can solve ... Poor planning can lock low and middle income households out of affordable housing," he said.

Mr English said the Government was working on strengthening the national direction on housing, which would force councils to release more land.

Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett earlier announced the Budget would include $41.1 million over the next four years to fund 3000 emergency housing places and grants a year.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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