Protests in Tauranga fighting state homes sell-off

  • 16/07/2016

Protesters are gathering in Tauranga to oppose the Government's plan to sell off state houses in the city.

Labour MP Phil Twyford, Greens MP Jan Logie, Merivale School Principal Jan Tinetti and others were expected to speak at the protest from 1pm on Saturday.

Tauranga Social Housing Action Network spokeswoman Vanessa Kururangi says it's a good time to talk about the issue because tenders for the purchase of Housing New Zealand (HNZ) houses in Tauranga have closed.

The Government has said three organisations are in the running to buy and manage just over 1100 houses in Tauranga - Accessible Properties, Hapori Connect Tauranga and Kainga Community Housing Partners.

If the homes are sold or leased the new owners will be required to make the properties available to those whom the Ministry of Social Development assesses as being eligible for social housing.

The Government says it wants to reconfigure its housing stock and new social housing providers will be innovative.

The protesters say local HNZ properties are virtually fully tenanted and a growing housing shortage in Tauranga increases the need for social housing.

In May the Government announced it had suspended the sale of state houses in Invercargill after the only group to submit a proposal pulled out.