9 Dec 2010

Life-time state housing tenancies to end

8:08 pm on 9 December 2010

The Government is ending life-time tenancy agreements for Housing New Zealand tenants, and from July next year all new tenants will have reviewable tenancies.

The decision is part of the Government's response to recommendations to address the country's housing shortage about to be released by Housing Minister Phil Heatley.

The Housing Shareholders Advisory Group made 19 recommendations to the Government in August to help cut the 10,000 people on Housing New Zealand's waiting list and address the 70,000 house shortage the country faces.

Mr Heatley said all new tenancy agreements with Housing New Zealand will be reviewable from July, and the 69,000 existing tenants will have their tenancies assessed, but that work is unlikely to start before the election next year.

He assured tenants who have health issues or are older that they had nothing to worry about, but said those who have significantly improved their circumstances will have to make way for the more needy.

The minister says the Government is looking at providing land, capital or houses to community organisations to boost the participation of third parties in social housing.

The Government is also going to stop Housing New Zealand and the Department of Building and Housing duplicating each other's work, and can not rule out job losses, he says.

The Labour Party's housing spokesperson says forcing tenants from their state homes will not address the housing shortage and more must be built.

Moana Mackey says state houses overwhelmingly go to the most needy people, and Housing New Zealand already move on tenants who no longer need their state homes.

The Monte Cecilia House Trust, which provides temporary accommodation, says it sees many families that can not sustain housing in the private sector and it is concerned about the Government's broad brush approach.