MPs tour state houses

Over 930 people had jobs in the last month thanks to the Government's Housing New Zealand stimulus funding, Housing Minister Phil Heatley says.

Mr Heatley and Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia toured state houses in Porirua this morning to get an update on the renovations announced by the Government as part of a $124.5 million economic stimulus package.

Two months after the package was announced renovation of 613 state homes was completed or under way and consents have been issued for the construction of 21 new homes, Mr Heatley said.

"The impact of that work on regional economies has been immediate. In total, almost $23m of additional work has been issued to contractors in the recession-hit building industry since February."

At the end of March, Housing New Zealand was employing 536 people on stimulus-funded upgrades and another 399 employed in stimulus-funded home construction projects, Mr Heatley said.

"This is just the start."

Housing New Zealand will build a total of 86 new homes by June - 30 in Auckland, 31 in the rest of the North Island and 25 in the South Island - over and above the 475 new homes scheduled to be built in the 2008/09 financial year.

It will upgrade more than 18,000 state homes around the country by July 2010.

"This will enhance the wellbeing of an estimated 50,000 people living in these homes."

Housing New Zealand is under close scrutiny after Mr Heatley put it on monthly monitoring of its spending last month following Treasury's concern over transparency.

- NZPA

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