State house sales 'asset sale by stealth' - Labour
Plans to offload state houses to social housing providers is "an asset sale by stealth," the Labour Party says.
Following an expression of interest from Australian company Horizon Homes to buy surplus state housing stock Labour leader Andrew Little said the Government had given no reason why they should be sold offshore.
"Once these properties are bought by overseas investors they will be lost from New Zealand forever.
"This is an asset sale by stealth," Little said.
Horizon Homes could buy between 400-500 homes if it fits the Government's criteria.
Finance Minister Bill English had cited the 400 housing associations in the Netherlands when discussing what the Government was trying to do in reforming social housing, which Little said was concerning.
Little said cost blow outs, allegations of personal enrichment and €1.2 billion of losses resulted in thousands of houses in the Netherlands being sold to foreign speculators.
A safer option for the Government would be to lease the houses to community providers to supply maintenance and tenancy services so that homes could remain in New Zealand.
Prime Minister John Key said on Monday that Horizon Homes would not be ruled out just because they were Australian, and their bid would be accepted if it was the best available to provide the service.