Invercargill, Gore and Clutha in firing line

HANNAH MCLEOD
Last updated 05:00 13/05/2014

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Southern state housing stocks could be heavily slashed according to figures obtained by the Labour party.

Invercargill, Gore and Clutha District looked the hardest hit with Queenstown Lakes District bucking the trend to get an increase in housing.

Data from Housing New Zealand released to Labour MP Phil Twyford under the official information act shows the forecasted demand for state housing in the next 10 years.

The figures show existing state housing for this year and what the projections could be in 2024.

Housing New Zealand Chief executive Glen Sowry, in a statement, said the figures released were one of many tools used to determine where state houses were needed most.

The projection's released by Labour, were commissioned by Housing New Zealand in 2012 and based on 2006 census data.

Sowry said demand was constantly changing and it was a fluid process.

"In Southland there isn't high demand for state housing, and therefore we are looking to sell surplus properties through programmes like our FirstHome initiative, and through selling state homes in the wider market."

Proceeds from sales would be reinvested in higher demand areas like Auckland, he said.

Salvation Army Invercargill community ministries foodbank co-ordinator Brenda King said: "We need more [state houses] rather than less, and the waiting lists need to be reduced."

Two clients came to mind, one who had been living on the street for about seven weeks while on a waiting list, and another who desperately needed to get out of the damp house they were living in, but "that just won't happen," King said.

Invercargill Labour Party candidate Lesley Soper said the possible cuts would be a "stiletto to the heart of Invercargill."

"It's a disgrace, a scandal, it's essentially asset stripping."

Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Vanessa van Uden did not return calls yesterday.

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