5 Jul 2010

Investment in state housing seen as way too little

7:58 pm on 5 July 2010

Community housing advocates and the Greens say the poor condition of many state houses is costing the country in terms of health and lost productivity.

The Tenants Protection Association says hundreds of state tenants are living in conditions harming their health.

And Green co-leader Metiria Turei says the Government isn't investing enough to fix $2 billion worth of delayed maintenance problems identified in 2008.

While Housing Minister Phil Heatley claims that $189 million will be spent on upgrading and acquiring state houses this year, she says, only $18 million was allocated in the Budget.

She says the Government has to be honest about where the shortfall will be found, and whether tenants will face rent hikes if the Government does that as a way of finding extra money.

The general manager of assets for Housing New Zealand, Kevin Mara, says however that the upgrade programme is planned for and budgeted.

Mr Mara says the cost of upgrades can be met by Housing New Zealand's income from rents and depreciation, without affecting rent subsidies.