Public meeting to launch campaign to stop government plans to sell 2,500 state houses in Christchurch
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At a public meeting next week Housing Action Canterbury will launch a city-wide campaign to stop the government selling 2,500 state houses in Christchurch this year.
Selling thousands of state homes in the middle of a housing crisis is social vandalism and utterly unacceptable.
Only the government has the resources and capacity to build the homes needed by low and middle income families when we have 40,000 homeless people across the country.
The meeting will express the widespread and resolute opposition to the policy from Cantabrians.
We have an impressive list of speakers for the meeting which indicates the strength of feeling building in Christchurch.
The speakers include:
Naenae Higgs – state house tenant
Gail Scott – state house tenant
Alan Johnson – Salvation Army
Paul Watson - Regional Secretary First Union
Mike Treen – National Director Unite Union
Lynda Boyd – Secretary Unions Canterbury
Bishop Victoria Mathews – Anglican Church Bishop
Rev Sheena Dickson – Housing Action Canterbury
John Laurenson – Principal Shirley Boys’ High School
Phil Twyford – Labour Party Housing spokesperson
Eugenie Sage – Green Party MP
Gary Gribben – Democrats for Social Credit
Murray Horton – Convenor of Keep Our Assets Canterbury
Grey Power – Ian Brownie
John Sullivan – Community Law Canterbury
Convenor of the State Housing Action Network, John Minto, will chair the meeting.
Six years on from the Christchurch earthquakes the Christchurch City Council is still 357 houses short of whatit had before the earthquakes.
At 1st September 2010, the council had 2649 council homes for rent but only 2292 available for rent as of 11th December 2016, according to figures from an Official Information Act request.
Despite 459 council homes having been demolished after the earthquakes only 61 (sic) new units have been completed since 1 September 2010! (A further 42 units will be demolished this year!)
Providing housing for the most vulnerable families in the wake of the earthquakes should have been the first council priority. It wasn’t.
Low-income families have been struggling with housing costs since then and despite the recent levelling off in private rental housing costs they remain artificially high because of the council’s failure to rebuild its housing stock.
The real devastating failure of the city rebuild is the plight of low-income families left high and dry by the Christchurch City Council.
The council should hang its head in shame.
Had the council prioritised rebuilding affordable housing, private rental costs across the city would be considerably lower than the very high rates being charged today.
All families in the private rental market are losers because of this moral and social failure.
The transfer of the council’s housing stock to the Otautahi Housing Trust, which took place on 1 October last year, will make the situation worse. The Trust does not have the resources or the capacity to build the homes required for tenants and families on low incomes.
The council must be forced to ramp up its building programme for council housing as an urgent priority and to vigorously oppose the government plans to sell 2,500 state houses in Christchurch.
Neither the council nor the government must be allowed to walk away from responsibility for housing families on low incomes.
Media Release: State Housing Action Network