PRESS RELEASE – STATE HOUSING CONFERENCE

PRESS RELEASE

23 JANUARY 2015

TĀMAKI HOUSING GROUP

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

State Housing Conference

We are holding a conference to launch a nationwide fightback against the privatisation of state housing stock.

The conference is to bring together state house tenants, supporters of tenants and the universal right to secure tenure and community, and all others opposed to the privatisation of the country’s largest state asset.

The conference runs 1030am – 4pm on Saturday 21 February at the Bhakti Center, 11 Pleasant View Rd, Panmure.

Background:

The government plans to sell up to 20,000 state houses to developers with profit priorities and community housing groups who will not be able sustain the stock and who are already overwhelmed by the number of those in desperate circumstances. A 2013 study using 2006 Statistics NZ data concluded that homelessness (defined by Statistics NZ) is close to 1 in 120 New Zealanders and between 12,900–21,100 dwellings would be needed. Homelessness has increased by 9% between 2001 and 2006.[1]

The government is privatising some of the stock and transferring other stock to charities, a transfer that has failed in other countries.

Reviewable tenancies have meant that tenants are evicted from their communities and forced into the private rental market, a move that raises demand, reduces supply and increases already soaring rent.

Families are living in overcrowded housing while the Government has dropped their ‘Rightsize’ policy which would have built extra rooms on homes.

Tenants have been bullied and harassed by Housing New Zealand to force them to move from their homes for private development to take place.[2]

The changes came about with the adoption of the Housing Shareholders Advisory Group report in 2010.[3] The board was appointed by the National Government ministers of Housing and Finance and consisted of property developers with vested interests. For example Alan Jackson chaired the board and was also the Director of Fletcher Buildings and the Chair of the Housing NZ board in Wellington. Martin Udale was also on the board and the ex-CEO of McConnell Property, now the Director of the Tamaki Redevelopment Company. The report recommended the Government focus on high-needs, a recommendation that resulted in an announcement last year to review all tenants. The report also recommended the Government transfer its responsibilities to third party groups, as well as a need to change expectations of the historical ‘house for life’ policy that gave Housing NZ tenants security and aided the strength and unity of communities.

The Tamaki Housing Group was formed in late 2011 after 156 households got notice of pending eviction without warning. The group has protested evictions and the removal of houses from Glen Innes over the last three years. The initial plans by government and Auckland Council were for these evictions to be concluded quickly in order to sell land that is rapidly increasing in value and the group has been successful in keeping a number of families and the elderly in their homes to now. The group has been successful in bringing the privatisation of state housing to national attention.

Objectives:

– A moratorium on the current sales of state house stock

– Repeal the 2013 Social Housing reforms, including Housing NZ functions to be returned as before, not dealt with by Work and Income (WINZ)

– A review on tenancy rights and a Charter of inalienable rights for tenants

– Amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act, particularly an obligation of the landlord to have a reason to issue 90-day notices that is stronger than the tenant’s rights to secure tenure

– Tenure protection for the elderly, the sick and the disabled

Conference details:

Saturday 21 February

1030am – 4pm

Bhakti Center, 11 Pleasant View Rd, Panmure

Contact:

Vanessa Cole: 022 130 7523

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: