State house sell-off backed by Maori Party

  • 19/02/2016
State house sell-off backed by Maori Party

The Maori Party is defending itself against Labour's criticism of its support for a bill that allows the government to sell state houses.

The bill was passed into law yesterday by 63 votes to 56 after strident protests from Labour, the Greens and NZ First.

During the third reading debate several Labour MPs said they were shocked by the Maori Party's backing for it.

The bill authorises ministers to sell Housing NZ properties to registered community housing providers.

The Government believes they can do a better job of looking after vulnerable families, and that they'll be able to increase their housing stock.

So does the Maori Party.

"In my view Housing New Zealand is doing a poor job with a lot of our whanau," said co-leader Marama Fox.

"I deal with cases of HCNZ tenants all the time, and if community housing providers challenge public and private landlords to lift their standards then that's a great outcome."

Ms Fox says eight Maori groups have registered to become community housing providers.

"We totally support those groups that are providing housing and other essential services to their communities to their communities in a way that best meets their specific needs."

The government intends selling up to 2000 state houses this year.

Labour's Phil Twyford says it's all about "hocking off billions of dollars in assets to National's mates".