Fake "eviction notices" sent by the Labour Party to 70,000 state house tenants have upset some elderly and intellectually disabled tenants who took them seriously.
The leaflets, with the words "Eviction Notice" in bold letters, have been individually addressed to state house residents.

A man in Mosgiel near Dunedin, Brian Ross, raised the alarm on Thursday on behalf of an elderly Dunedin woman who thought she was being evicted from her home.

"This lady has enough problems and issues in her life without this gutter tactic from Labour," he said.

Mr Ross also received a leaflet, though he only boards with a state house tenant. Another copy, delivered to the same house, was addressed to a disabled man who has not lived there for four years.

Talkback radio hosts received a number of calls yesterday from other people who knew tenants frightened by the leaflets.

Suzy, a caller from Taneatua, told Newstalk ZB's Leighton Smith that a friend's mother was in tears when she received the leaflet.

"This lady was beside herself. The daughter went around and read it and said, 'Oh, Mum, it's only political.' It's scary stuff."

An Auckland woman rang the Herald last night to say that another elderly tenant was "very distraught" when she received the leaflet.

Dunedin South MP David Benson-Pope said last night that he apologised for any confusion that the leaflet had caused but not for its contents.

"We are just highlighting the consequences of National's housing policies," he said. "Don't let National sell your house!" says the leaflet's headline, under the ominous "Eviction Notice."

In the 1990s the National Government sold state houses and charged market rents. the letter says.

"Don't let Don Brash and National spoil a good thing. On September 17, please give your party vote to Labour," it says.

Housing New Zealand spokesman Tom Bridgman said the corporation did not give Labour the list of its tenants' names and refused requests for the list from several parties under the Official Information Act.

Labour president Mike Williams said the party constructed its own list from Land Information NZ records showing which properties were owned by Housing NZ and matching those addresses with the names of people on the electoral rolls.

He said the leaflet was prepared before National announced this week that it would bring back market rents for new tenants moving into state houses if itwins, and would give tenants $15,000 suspensory loans to help them buy their state houses.

National said it would "grandparent" existing tenants on their present income-related rents, and would use the revenue from state house sales to buy or build more homes.

"The last time National was elected they brought in a state house policy which they had not announced," Mr Williams said.

However, National housing spokesman David Carter reiterated last night that houses would only be sold to tenants who wanted to buy, and that existing tenants would be protected from market rents.

"Income-related rents are grandparented for at least the first three years.

"For Mike Williams and the Labour Party to stoop to these despicable tactics shows they will stoop to any level as a means of trying to hang on to power," Mr Carter added.