A rental property owner in Auckland who wanted to help the government tackle homelessness says he's been left bewildered by the official reaction to his offer of a house for rent.
Wayne Fletcher says that after seeing a pre-budget announcement on homelessness last Friday he contacted Housing New Zealand to say he had a five-bedroom house in Glen Innes that could help a family in need.
But three days after he sent the email he received a reply that said: "Our Acquisition Service Team are looking for new builts (sic) from 2000 onwards."
The Ministry of Social Development, by contrast, seemed more than happy to consider using the house for the homeless, despite its age.
"I was very surprised," Fletcher said of the Housing NZ email. "I was dismayed actually because I thought living in a nice, warm, dry house would be better than living on the streets.
"I think we've all heard the publicity about homelessness and poverty in this country. We wanted to do something to help - an honest endeavour to help the community."
Fletcher says he would have been happy to accept $745 a week for the 1960s-era house – significantly lower than what the previous tenants were paying.
"They didn't even ask the price. It was just the fact that they were looking for houses built after the year 2000.
"That was a surprise to me, I don't even live in a house that young."
But following enquiries by the Herald Fletcher's house might yet be used to help a family in need.
In contrast to the email he received from Housing New Zealand, the Ministry of Development was interested in using the house for the homeless, despite its age.
In an email the Ministry's housing deputy chief executive, Scott Gallacher wrote: "It's fantastic to see people like Wayne reaching out to us and offering his property, which could help a whānau in need of housing.
"We've contacted Wayne, and are meeting with him this Thursday to see the property and whether we can make it available to a family this winter."
The email finished by encouraging "anyone – including private landlords, community organisations, iwi – who has property or accommodation that can help us achieve this ambitious goal, to make contact with us by emailing us at email@example.com."