State houses that have been removed from Glen Innes are being reused to house people in need in the Far North.
Housing New Zealand programme manager Graham Bodman says the first 26 houses being removed from Glen Innes will be refurbished and reused.
"We want to recycle as many of these houses as possible. Most of the first houses being removed have been sold so they can be refurbished to provide low-cost housing in Northland, Auckland and the Waikato," Mr Bodman says.
"One of the houses is going to be used as a kindergarten in Northland, and another is being refurbished so it can replace a state house that burned down.
"Demolishing a house is a last resort and only takes place when the condition or style of the house makes it impossible to relocate."
The Glen Innes redevelopment aims to increase the number of houses in Glen Innes, including options to rent from community based organisations, home ownership opportunities, and private sector rentals. The project also involves modernising another 40 state houses in northern Glen Innes.
Tempers flared at a Tamaki Housing Group meeting last week.
Architect Fleur Palmer spoke to the group. She works with Korowai Trust in Kaitaia, which is using the GI houses to provide affordable housing for homeless Maori.
"Our people are sleeping in garages and cow sheds. The average yearly income is under $20,000. People are very poor. We feel for the people of Glen Innes and we don't want to be seen as just a PR tool for the government."
Mana Movement vice-president John Minto wants Housing New Zealand and government representatives to front up to tenants.
"It's about taking from the poor to give to the even poorer. The government expects poor people to fight among themselves over houses. That is not right."
He says Tamaki Housing Group has asked for more consultation but tenants are not being heard.
"We want to have a designated tenant on every street to meet with Housing New Zealand and Government and talk to us about the development, not just turn up and tell us what's going to happen."
Housing lobbyist Yvonne Dainty asked that people think about where the houses have come from.
"Those who take what's not theirs take with greedy hands and greedy hearts. That's not right. Our forefathers fought for this country in the Maori Battalion and they earned these houses," she says.
"When you look at those houses don't just think about the raw materials. You think about what family used to live in that house. What child slept in that bedroom. Where might they be sleeping now."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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