26 Mar 2013

Empty state houses 'encouraging crime'

9:46 am on 26 March 2013

Housing New Zealand's chief executive is being urged to fill empty state houses in a Napier suburb quickly as reports of crime and vandalism escalate.

In the past five months, 56 homes in Maraenui have been vacated because of earthquake risk.

A further 20 are not in use because they've been vandalised and tenants don't want to move into another 20 properties.

Maraenui resident Minnie Ratima says the crime, vandalism and anti-social behaviour attracted by the empty houses have gone from bad to worse, and she wants them tenanted.

Housing New Zealand's chief executive Glen Sowry was visiting Hawke's Bay on Tuesday to see the scale of the problem for himself.

Mr Sowry said the agency was working hard to make the homes as attractive and liveable as possible.

Forty families are on the Hawke's Bay waiting list in urgent need of housing.