Topic: Housing

Protesters march on Parliament to oppose sale of state houses

By Heta Gardiner
  • Wellington

Housing is the responsibility of government says a group of protesters who marched on Parliament today to oppose the sale of state houses.  

They came from the four corners of the country, but there is one clear message.

Delegates from the State Housing Action Network have amassed at Parliament, from Northland all the way to Invercargill.  Their question, where is the government's support?

Tauranga delegate Vanessa Kururangi says, "It's just on going letters, that tells them nothing's gonna change, when things are already changing."

Annette Sykes says the real issue is money.  Tauranga and Invercargill are the first two centres where the sale of state housing assets will occur.

Kururangi wants to see hard evidence of the value of this strategy.  She says, "I have never seen anywhere overseas where it has actually worked.  We're taking a major step back if we think we can pull this off and we can't."

Marama Fox says, "I talked with a man on the coast who has been waiting for a house for over five years.  With all their talk of building more houses, it's just not coming fast enough."

Privatisation has been a key feature of this government.  Prisons have been privatised, and a similar model is being looked at for social services.

Minister Nick Smith says, "The Government has a very active programme, including working with Māori, to improve the supply of houses, but key reform around social housing, is with another minister."

Up to 2000 state houses are expected to be sold next year to community-housing providers.