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Sale Of State Houses A 'Win-Win-Win' - Govt

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Phil Heatley
Phil Heatley

Wellington, June 24 NZPA - A new plan enabling state housing tenants to buy the house they live in, with a new house to be built in each one's place, would be "a win-win-win" for tenants, people in housing queues and the economy, Housing Minister Phil Heatley said today.

The Government today announced a new policy giving Housing New Zealand tenants the option to buy their house from mid-September at market prices and said it would consider increasing the cap on Welcome Home mortgage guarantees to make it easier for all low-income buyers.

Tenants paying market rents were the most likely to be able to buy their homes, Mr Heatley said.

About 5500 tenants paid market rent and about 2800 them lived in the eligible homes.

All the money Housing NZ earned from the sale of a house would be reinvested into a replacement state house, Mr Heatley said.

"It's going to be a win-win-win. Someone goes into home ownership, someone comes off the waiting list into a new state house and a building company gets the building, stimulating the economy."

The houses would not be available to private buyers if tenants did not wish to buy them, but vacant, surplus state houses in areas of low demand, which were already sold to the private market, would be available to buyers, he said.

Green Party housing spokeswoman Sue Bradford said selling houses was "the last thing National should be doing" when there were 10,000 families on housing waiting lists, while Labour MP Katrina Shanks sought Mr Heatley's assurance that replacement houses would be built in areas of high-need and not on city fringes or in a different city.

Mr Heatley said the Government was concentrating on building new houses, including 550 by the end of the financial year and 1000 more over three years, and would continue to build the houses in areas of high need, but gave no assurance they would be in the same city as the houses sold.

He said 811 state houses had been sold under the Labour government but there was no policy in place then to offer them to tenants.

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