Marfell makeover 'neglected'

JO MOIR
Last updated 05:00 05/11/2012
tdn marfel stand
ANDY JACKSON
Co-ordinator of the Marfell Combined Community Trust, Nigel Bates takes Labour MP's Annette King and Andrew Little for a walk around Discovery Place in Marfell New Plymouth.

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Labour has given the Government a wake-up call over the "neglected" Marfell state housing upgrade.

Housing spokeswoman Annette King said Housing New Zealand's properties in the suburb of Marfell were as bad as anything she had seen in South Auckland.

"They're pretty cruddy-looking buildings outside and I've had many conversations with Housing New Zealand saying they need to be doing maintenance," she said.

Ms King was in town on Friday with Labour MP Andrew Little where they met Marfell Combined Community Trust co-ordinator Nigel Bates to talk about a planned redevelopment that has lost momentum.

The tenants of 20 state houses in parts of New Plymouth's Banks St and Discovery Place were told in July they would soon be moved out to allow redevelopment.

At the time they were given no more than 12 months to move but four months later there has been little communication about when the redevelopment will start.

Ms King said the Christchurch earthquakes had brought a lot of housing developments to a stop in many parts of the country.

"I totally understood the priority of Christchurch but at this stage we can't continue to neglect the needs of other areas," she said.

"A decision needs to be made."

The makeover of Marfell has been in the pipeline since 2008 when 28 state homes were removed from the area.

Ms King says there is a low demand for state housing in New Plymouth and given the latest rental shortage revealed in the Taranaki Daily News last month, Housing New Zealand should be looking at alternatives.

"There are a number of empty buildings around tenants in Marfell and that can't be a nice environment to live in.

"Perhaps Housing New Zealand need to start looking outside the square at what the need is for housing."

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