HNZ defends empty homes

ADRIAN EVANS
Last updated 05:00 25/09/2012

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Vacant Housing New Zealand properties are empty for a reason, despite concerns that people are desperate for houses.

Housing NZ communications manager Amanda Binns has spoken out in response to criticism that the government agency was forcing people to live rough.

''Properties are generally vacant for three reasons - because they are awaiting or undergoing repairs; because they're for sale; or because no-one on our waiting list is suited to or wants to live at the property.

''At any given time Housing New Zealand has a number of properties that are vacant as part of the usual cycle of rental comings and goings,'' she said.

Labour Party housing spokeswoman Annette King used her blog to criticise Housing NZ over unoccupied properties in Wiri.

''Housing New Zealand is failing families in need by leaving vacant homes to be wrecked and ruined by water damage and vandalism,'' she said.

''One house I visited in Wiri had been empty for 107 days. This kind of poor management makes a mockery of taxpayer investment in social housing.''

But Binns said homes were going to priority applicants.

''In Wiri, Housing NZ has eight vacant 'ready to let' state rental properties and seven have already been accepted by people on our waiting list with one pending. None of these eight properties have been damaged.

''The local manager touches base on a regular basis with local housing advocates.

''These advocates all know they can contact her at any time to discuss local issues. This arrangement has been in place for some time.''

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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