Re: Puriri Park Rd land.
In response to the Northern Advocate's story entitled "We won't consult until 'contracts' signed", and the May 3 Northern Advocate editorial "Puriri Park HNZ development not a smart move", Housing New Zealand makes the following points.
There is no contract in place relating to the purchase of the land as no transaction has been agreed as yet.
It is neither reasonable nor sensible to engage with people before such a first, key step has been taken.
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Next, are you suggesting that people do not have a basic right to be warmly, safely and securely housed?
Or is just that they should have these things but not near others who might not like them?
Further, is it your or your paper's belief the Puriri Park area should only be available to people who can afford to build and buy more expensive houses in "leafy" suburbs rather the creation of well-designed state housing in a nice, leafy suburb where houses should at least be "worth $600,000–$700,000"?
Your editorial comment that "Residents would be — are already being — subjected to negative, stereotypical stigma, and the development would possibly lower property prices" is probably the most insulting segment of your opinion.
Our tenants do not deserve to be stereotyped, especially by media who are in a position to do otherwise by standing up for basic human rights and helping to highlight housing accessibility problems.
Or do you mean a few of the residents at Puriri Park are being stereotyped? A case of hoist by their own petard then.
Your comment "and if HNZ is at all conscious of 'ghettoisation'" goes against any number of stories in your own paper criticising the shortage of state housing and housing in general in Whangarei and Northland.
Were those previous stories simply wrong? If not, what exactly is your point?
Are you saying state house tenants or other lower socio-economic people don't belong in the Puriri Park area on land the Crown owns?
Finally, if Housing New Zealand does purchase this land and when it begins plans to develop it, we will share these with all the relevant stakeholders including nearby residents, iwi, local and central government, schools, health and social services and the general public.
As well as receiving advice from local and central government agencies, we engage with others to hear feedback on who needs housing and where, whether it be for the elderly or young families or single people.
We have a long and extensive history of doing so with our developments.
Despite the Northern Advocate editor's latest, contradictory comments, it is clear that fair-minded, reasonable, non-judgmental people know well-planned, modern state and affordable houses are much needed in Whangarei and the rest of Northland and Housing New Zealand is committed to playing its part, along with the rest of the community, to achieve just that.
Patrick Dougherty is the GM Asset Development Group, Housing New Zealand.