Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri says Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett's decision to rehash a policy offering cash incentives to state house tenants willing to move out of Auckland will not help the provinces and shows how "desperate" the Government is.
"In January this year, Paula Bennett announced a half-baked policy to offer $3,000 cash incentives to state house tenants willing to move out of Auckland and into the provinces.
"That policy was met with disbelief, and heavily criticised by regional Mayors and social service organisations.
"Now, in a shocking example of policy made on the fly, the Minister has tried to rehash this short-sighted plan by increasing the enticement to $5,000 and extending it to the homeless.
"This is a desperate announcement and totally lacks credibility as an effective policy.
"The Minister mentioned Gisborne, in my electorate of Ikaroa-Rāwhiti, as one of the areas with capacity for state housing tenants. Well, the figures on the Social Housing Register show there are 83 people in Gisborne waiting for state housing, with 42 of those in the 'at-risk' Priority A category.
"That's what happens when you make up policy on the hoof - you get your information wrong.
"I'm all for people moving to regional New Zealand, but this policy will not help the provinces. Out here in the regions we need more affordable rentals and houses that are warm and dry. We need emergency housing, decent jobs, and social services ready to assist the vulnerable people in our communities.
"If the Government wants to address the housing crisis, it should build more houses - not make up desperate policy and pass on social problems to the provinces."