25 Oct 2010

Labour sceptical about state house tenant reviews

3:22 pm on 25 October 2010

The Labour Party is sceptical about plans to introduce tenancy reviews for state house tenants.

The Government is looking at the idea of introducing the reviews, which could spell the end of state house tenants occupying a house for life.

But the Government says if introduced, these reviews will probably apply only to new tenants and not those over the age of 65, on an invalid's benefit or the extremely vulnerable.

Labour's housing spokesperson Moana Mackey says she does not think the idea is anything new.

She believes giving community groups greater responsibility in the state house sector will not solve the housing shortage.

Ms Mackey says it is unrealistic to expect the philanthropic sector to come up with "hundreds of millions of dollars" to bridge the gap in government funding for social housing.

Housing Minister Phil Heatley says the Government can not afford to build more social housing.

He says the Government recognises the need to increase the number of social housing but cannot borrow to do that.

The minister says there are no plans to privatise the sector, which is Labour's fear.

Asset disclosure

The Government is also looking at changing the law so that all state house tenants will be required to disclose if they own rental property.

State house tenants who pay full market rent and do not receive any government subsidy, currently do not have to disclose their income or assets.

Mr Heatley says wealthy people should not be in state houses while desperately needy families are on the waiting list and that is why a law change is needed.