13 May 2015

Labour challenges sell-off motivation

10:43 am on 13 May 2015

The Labour Party is questioning what is behind the Government's policy to sell state houses, in light of a letter released under the Official Information Act .

Phil Twyford during caucas run 5/5/15

Labour's Phil Twyford told Radio New Zealand the letter undermined the Government's public statements on the policy (file photo). Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

In the letter to Housing New Zealand, Finance Minister Bill English said work was underway to look at how the organisation could provide tenancy and management services to new providers.

Labour's housing spokesperson, Phil Twyford, said this showed the policy was really an ideological one.

"It completely undermines the Government's central claim that they've used to sell this policy, and that is that Housing New Zealand doesn't do a very good job [and] the community's much better at tenancy management and looking after tenants."

Mr Twyford said social organisations' expertise lay in helping people, not in property deals and becoming landlords.

He also said the Government was selling housing at fire-sale prices with the promise of ongoing subsidies, in order to create an artificial market in social housing.

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