Hundreds of Housing New Zealand state houses in the Wellington region are empty, despite hundreds of people being on waiting lists.
Across Lower Hutt, Wellington City, and Porirua 486 state houses are sitting empty due to the need for earthquake strengthening, methamphetamine contamination, and “pending sales.”
523 people are currently on the waitlist for state houses to become available.
While Housing New Zealand says the number of vacant properties is only a small percentage of its national stock of over 64,000 houses, Salvation Army policy analyst Allan Johnson said the properties are being kept empty in order for them to be sold.
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Bill English, the Minister responsible for Housing New Zealand, has been overseas but his office said the houses are only being sold if they are not needed, and added that they are planning on building 2000 new state houses over the next two years.
“Housing NZ reinvests the proceeds of sales to build new homes in areas of high demand like Auckland.”
Labour housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said that leaving state houses empty during a time where rates of homelessness are increasing is unacceptable.
“It’s incompetent and callous to allow so many state houses to lie empty when there are so many families desperate for a roof over their heads.”