Kiri is a digital journalist for bayofplentytimes.co.nz.

Tauranga state homes fight bound for High Court

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State Housing Action Incorporated secretary Vanessa Kururangi says action must be taken to prevent the sale of Tauranga's state homes. PHOTO/JOHN BORREN
State Housing Action Incorporated secretary Vanessa Kururangi says action must be taken to prevent the sale of Tauranga's state homes. PHOTO/JOHN BORREN

A group fighting to prevent the sale of 1124 Tauranga's state homes has announced it will take its fight to the High Court.

State Housing Action Incorporated secretary Vanessa Kururangi said papers were expected to be filed in court within the next week.

''It is a bold move but I think it's necessary because we've tried everything. We did writing letters, tried meeting with MPs, tried protests and marches,'' she said.

IHC subsidiary Accessible Properties has been named the preferred provider of social housing stock in Tauranga. Final negotiations were expected to wrap up by October. Accessible Properties could take over ownership in the first half of next year.

''We just decided enough was enough. We have to go ahead and do this,'' Ms Kururangi said.

''We are at the end of our tether but we aren't just going to go away. It's just too important for us to shrug our shoulders and forget about it.''

Ms Kururangi said the work carried out by the Accessible Properties did was commendable but almost doubling its portfolio would result was not the answer and would not prevent growth hiccups from happening.

''We want our tenants to have stronger rights. We want dry, healthy, safe homes for our children to grow up in. We want longer term tenancies so they can put down roots in the community and not be continuously uplifted and moved from place to place.

We are at the end of our tether but we aren't just going to go away. It's just too important for us to shrug our shoulders and forget about it.
Vanessa Kururangi

''It's quite simple. I don't know why the Government makes it so difficult.''

The group will be relying on small donations to help get the case through court.

Executive director of Te Tuinga Whanau Support Services Trust Tommy Wilson said he applauded the efforts of the group.

''We need more Vanessas to stand up for the people who can't stand up for themselves,'' Mr Wilson.

''But when it comes to the allocation of the houses we desperately need to reconfigure what is already existing. We need to get the hundred or so people on my books in to long-term housing. The way to do that is to work with what we have got, not what we want.''

Mr Wilson said the goal was to help people in need, regardless of what political party was involved.

''Ideally we would like the Government to wave a magic wand to double the number of houses we currently have.''

A spokeswoman from Minister Responsible for Housing New Zealand Bill English's office said: "There's very little we can say until the group actually files for an application and we understand the grounds on which they have made the application."


THE FIGHT FOR OUR STATE HOMES


Accessible Properties competed against Hapori Connect Tauranga, a consortium led by British social housing manager Pinnacle Group, and the HRL Morrison & Co-led Kainga Community Housing Partners. It had been managing social housing for 70 years and was the largest non-government social housing provider, with 1500 homes in New Zealand.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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