Press Release – New Zealand Labour Party
An inquiry into boarding houses will not report back in this parliamentary term because the Government dithered before finally allowing it to go ahead, says Labour Housing spokesperson Moana Mackey. The interim report of the Social Services select committee …Moana MACKEY
4 October 2011
Labour disappointed by delay in boarding house inquiry
An inquiry into boarding houses will not report back in this parliamentary term because the Government dithered before finally allowing it to go ahead, says Labour Housing spokesperson Moana Mackey.
The interim report of the Social Services select committee was tabled in Parliament this afternoon.
“While Labour supports the decision to roll the inquiry over to the new parliament we are disappointed that the significant delay in getting Government agreement meant that the scope of the inquiry had to be limited to boarding houses and now as a result it will not be completed in this term.
“Submitters urged the committee and government to act swiftly to ensure that current laws and regulations governing boarding houses are adequate to ensure that minimum standards are met and able to be policed. They were concerned about those operators who exploit extremely vulnerable tenants, charging very high rents for squalid substandard properties.
“Phil Heatley was very vocal about the state of boarding houses when he was in opposition, but now that he is in a position to do something about it he has gone very quiet,” Moana Mackey said.
Labour first called for an inquiry into homelessness in November 2009.
“This National Government has done nothing to deal with increasing levels of homelessness across New Zealand. Instead they’ve tried to hide the problem by kicking people off the social housing waiting list rather than dealing with the actual issue – an ever-worsening shortage of social housing.
“Changes at Housing New Zealand in how state houses are allocated coupled with the decision to stop assisting tenants with their ‘wider social needs’ will also exacerbate the problem. It is extraordinary that the very agency that should be focussed on reducing homelessness is in practice adding to it.
“Labour urges the new Social Services committee to extend the scope of the inquiry so that the broader issue of homelessness can be investigated as was originally intended.
“What is clear is that the National Government has no plan to deal with the ever growing issue of homelessness in New Zealand,” Moana Mackey said.