15 Jul 2016

Protest planned against Tauranga state housing sell-off

3:14 pm on 15 July 2016

The government's proposed sell-off of state houses in Tauranga will only add to the city's social housing shortage, a social housing advocacy group says.

The government plans to sell up to 2000 properties to registered community providers as part of its social housing reform programme, which has already hit its first glitch.

Tauranga and Invercargill were to be the first cities where houses would be sold off.

However, in May the government announced it had suspended the sale of state houses in Invercargill after the only group to submit a proposal pulled out.

Tenders for the Tauranga housing have closed and the Tauranga State Housing Action Network plans to hold a protest in the city on Saturday against the sell-off.

The group is questioning why the government would sell the homes when they say there is such a high demand for state supplied housing.

Vanessa Kururangi, a member of the network, said she was concerned that over time the move would result in less social housing and more homelessness.

"It will put more pressure on these community groups that are already doing what they can and are already overloaded it will put the onus back on to people just to find solutions in their own way and we're already struggling to help these whānau out."

One of Ms Kururangi's concerns was the location of some of the state houses in Merivale which she said have beautiful views of the estuary and she is worried the houses would be sold off, bowled and rebuilt with much more expensive properties that members of the community cannot afford.

"So they'll essentially be pushed out of their communities to find somewhere else to live and there's nowhere to go because everyone else is in the same situation."

Ms Kururangi said she would like the whole sell-off taken off the table, but if not, at least have the process stalled so people can have more time to dissect the deal.

The protest will take place in Red Square in Tauranga on Saturday from 1 pm.

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