Thousands of state houses look likely to be sold in spite of Prime Minister John Key's pre-election promise that asset sales would stop.
The admission of the billion-dollar sell-off came in an interview with Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett on The Nation this morning.
Housing's a hot political issue. The lack of places to live and escalating costs are big problems, particularly in Auckland and Christchurch.
The Government has 68,000 state houses. It looks like up to a third could be sold.
Ms Bennett says many state houses are the wrong size or in the wrong place.
"You spend that $1 billion on people that need it in a better way. There are assets that are going to iwi community housing providers."
The assets are also going to private inidividuals, and that admission has opened the Government to attack, given National's pre-election promise of no more asset sales, Mr Key saying there was nothing left worth selling.
"It's an asset sale," says Labour acting deputy leader Annette King. "No mandate for it – the public of New Zealand was not told before the election there'd be this sort of sale. In fact the Prime Minister said there'd be no more asset sales."
"John Key promised before the election there'd be no more asset sales," says Green Party co-leader Russel Norman. "This is a very big asset sale. This is a broken promise from a government that looks increasingly arrogant."
But Mr Key, in Australia for World War I commemorations, came to the defence of his social housing minister.
Ms Bennett says the sales will allow the Government to spend $1 billion on providing more housing, and she's committed to have more places available for the people who need it.
source: newshub archive