State house Bill passes amidst rowdy debate

  • 18/02/2016

A Bill that gives ministers authority to sell Housing NZ properties to community providers has been passed by Parliament after a rowdy debate.

It's part of the Government's Social Housing Reform Programme, designed to improve access and deliver better services.

The Government intends transferring up to 2000 state houses to registered community housing providers this year.

"Fundamentally, this is about improving the lives of some of our most vulnerable New Zealanders," said Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett.

"Combined with the guaranteed income stream through the Income Related Rent Subsidy, transferring properties gives [the providers] capital and an asset they can use to further grow."

Labour and the Greens fiercely opposed the Bill.

"It has become brutally clear that this whole exercise has nothing to do with improving the lives of tenants," said Labour's housing spokesman Phil Twyford.

"It's all about hocking off billions of dollars in assets to National's mates with the promise of ongoing taxpayer subsidies."

The Bill passed its third reading 63-56.

National, the Maori Party, ACT and United Future supported it.

Labour, the Greens and NZ First opposed it.