Housing NZ takes state houses off the market

By Laurel Stowell

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DONE DEAL: This state house sold but 10 others are being taken off the market.
DONE DEAL: This state house sold but 10 others are being taken off the market.

Ten Housing New Zealand houses in Whanganui that were to have been sold are being taken off the market and made available to tenants.

The change of policy has been made due to increasing demand, a Housing NZ spokesperson said.

A number of critics have complained about Housing NZ selling off houses while there are people in Whanganui in need, who want to live in them.

In the Whanganui district on June 30 - the last time figures were issued - there were 24 individuals or families who needed Housing NZ accommodation, according to Ministry of Social Development criteria, but only two houses available.

In Whanganui, Property Brokers has sold 102 state houses since early 2014, with 98 of those to buyers in the FirstHome scheme - that's good for first-home buyers, but not for those needing a house to rent.

Housing NZ said it had housed a total of 61 families in the district in the past 12 months.
Last week there were 34 empty state houses in the district, and 21 of those were to be sold. However, 10 have now been pulled back from sale with some already having tenants, and others are being upgraded to make them suitable for tenants.

Of the other 11 for sale, two may be either sold or tenanted, five are being listed for sale, two have been sold with the sale not settled and two have been sold with the sale settled.
Meanwhile, a lobby group called State Housing Action is seeking a judicial review of a proposed sale of 1124 Housing NZ houses to IHC in Tauranga.

"We can see no way that Minister of State Housing Bill English could legally justify a sale in terms of the statutory objectives of the Government's State Housing Reform Programme," convenor John Minto said.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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