Not sure if this was clever Paula

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Normally Whaleoil wouldn’t give Simon pimp-the-poor Collins much credit, but this time the numbers are hard to dispute:

The Government has abandoned a target of increasing the numbers of subsidised social housing places to 65,000, despite growing reports of families living in cars and garages.

A pre-Budget report released by the Treasury today shows that the target for social housing places has been cut from 65,000 to 64,100, apparently for fiscal reasons.

Labour housing spokesman Phil Twyford said it was “a broken promise”.

“It’s just more evidence of this Government running down of state housing and social housing in the midst of a housing crisis.”

Prime Minister John Key said in January last year that the Government “will increase funding for social house subsidies from about 62,000 places currently to around 65,000 places by 2017-18 at an estimated cost of another $40 million a year”.

At the same time he announced plans to sell between 1000 and 2000 state houses a year to community housing providers, promising to keep at least 60,000 houses in Housing NZ by 2017.

Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett said in the same press statement: “This won’t reduce the number of social housing places available – indeed these will increase by 3000 by 2017-18.”

But the Budget documents show that the number of social housing places actually dropped to 60,260 by the end of last month, mainly because Housing NZ and other providers have been selling and demolishing existing houses in redevelopment areas such as Tamaki at a faster rate than they have been building new ones.

It appears Bennett has been selling and destroying houses faster than she can build them, putting even more pressure on social housing that is already feeling the backlash of homelessness.

Housing is shaping up to be the top issue for the 2017 election, and National needs to review if Paula Bennett is in the right portfolio.   Perhaps an end-of-year reshuffle is in order before Steve Joyce has to come in and clean up the mess.

 

– Simon Collins, NZ Herald


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