Housing New Zealand applied to evict 4 per cent of its tenants in the year to June.

The state agency has told the Herald, in response to an Official Information Act request, that it applied to the Tenancy Tribunal to end 2247 tenancies in the year to June last year, and 2591 in the latest year.

The latest number is 4 per cent of its 65,543 state rentals as at March this year - one in every 25 tenants, excluding homes rented to community groups.

Auckland Tenants Protection Association manager Dr Angela Maynard said the agency was effectively evicting people into homelessness because it was meant to be the housing agency of last resort.


"If you've been evicted from a Housing NZ house, the private sector doesn't want to know you. Are they supposed to go on the streets?" she asked.

But Labour housing spokesman Phil Twyford said taxpayers would want the state agency to be "tough but fair".

"Most people would want Housing NZ to have the wisdom of Solomon," he said.

"You want them to be compassionate, particularly to tenants who might be pretty challenging to deal with, but also tough but fair when it comes to making sure, as a good landlord, that state house tenants are good neighbours and look after their houses."

Housing NZ government relations manager Rachel Kelly said she could only provide figures for the past two years because applications to the Tenancy Tribunal were not recorded centrally before July 2014.

"Housing NZ will only apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to end a tenancy as a last resort," she said.

"For example, when a tenant falls behind in their rent their tenancy manager will contact the tenant to attempt to make a repayment arrangement."

She said tenancy managers handed tenants to debt specialists if they fell more than 21 days behind in their rent. If a specialist could not arrange repayments the agency then sought mediation, and only went to the tribunal if mediation failed.


But Alastair Russell of Auckland Action Against Poverty said he was supporting a mother, three adult children and two grandchildren, including an 18-month-old baby, who had been issued a 90-day eviction notice because a friend's dog attacked their tenancy manager.

"There are provisions for Auckland Council to remove dogs if they are a danger, so why would any socially responsible landlord kick people out on this basis?" he asked.

Maynard, who has been in her role since 2003, said Housing NZ "hardly ever" went to the tribunal for eviction orders until the past few years.

"They didn't really give 90-day notices, they didn't really evict many people. It was a really extreme situation in the past if they did," she said. "They are very cavalier with their evictions now."

Property Investors Federation executive officer Andrew King said Housing NZ's applications to evict 4 per cent of its tenants were "probably a little bit higher" than the average for private landlords, but that reflected the state's more "challenging" clients.

Housing NZ's applications to terminate tenancies were 15.3 per cent of all landlord applications to the Tenancy Tribunal for all reasons in the latest year to June. The agency's 65,543 tenancies represent 14.5 per cent of the 453,000 rented homes in New Zealand in the 2013 Census.

Disabled man faces eviction

A man who has been partially disabled since a horrific truck accident a year ago is being evicted by Housing New Zealand because he didn't declare income of almost $35,000.

Stuart Wilkinson, who turned 50 today, has lived for 14 years in a state house in the Christchurch suburb of Parklands with his wife Leeann and their two children now aged 18 and 15.

He said he spent his birthday "barricading" the house after a Tenancy Tribunal hearing last Wednesday ordered the termination of the tenancy and Housing NZ told him to leave the house ready for a final inspection by Housing NZ today.

"We have just barricaded ourselves in," he said.

"They initially gave us a 90-day notice ending on August 22. We are prepared to be out by then, but we can't be expected to shift out and have somewhere to go within four days."

Wilkinson was severely injured when he was driving a truck and had to swerve off the road to avoid a car that he said was driving on the wrong side of the road near Waimate in June last year.

His doctor Dr Simon Wynn-Thomas wrote last week that the accident left him with "an incomplete tetraplegia which means, whilst he is not permanently in a wheelchair, he has significant mobility issues and is [in] very severe pain".

However he admitted that he did not declare the income from that job and other short-term jobs between 2012 and 2015 which Social Development Ministry deputy chief executive Carl Crafar said created a debt to the ministry of $34,659 because his state house rent was based on 25 per cent of his income.

Crafar said Wilkinson pleaded guilty to not declaring the income and was now awaiting sentencing.

Housing NZ regional manager Jackie Pivac said her agency issued a 90-day eviction notice in May after the ministry told it that Wilkinson was being prosecuted.

She said Wilkinson then stopped paying rent, so the agency went to the Tenancy Tribunal to end his tenancy "immediately" and to recover $3519 in rent arrears.

Wilkinson confirmed that he did not declare income from work.

"I know it's wrong," he said.

"In that period I never worked more than three months at a job. I was paranoid that I wouldn't have a job at the end of the 90 days [trial period]. I haven't been working for years and I didn't know if I could handle a job."

He said a contractor who did work for Housing NZ advised him that he didn't need to pay rent after he received a 90-day notice.