State tenants against sell-off

NO SALE: The Labour-led government has put a stop to the sale of state houses.

“Leave us alone, we have been through enough.”

That is the message Bryndwr residents want to send the Government about selling off state houses.

In November, Housing New Zealand Minister Bill English said the Government would look to sell up to 2500 state houses in Christchurch as part of its sell-off programme.

The houses are in Bryndwr, Shirley and Riccarton.

A petition has been started by Housing New Zealand tenant Gail Scott and other Bryndwr residents Marney Ainsworth, Paul Pink and Naenae Higgs to try and block the sale.

“We don’t want another landlord,” Ms Scott said.

She hoped people living in the affected houses would speak up and try to stop the sell-off.

“There is a fear of being evicted if they speak up, but it is freedom of speech, they can’t be kicked out for that,” Ms Scott said.

Former Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett said the Government’s expectation in an ownership transfer is that any community housing provider must show it can improve the quality of services to tenants.

“As we have said of other transfers, our bottom line is that tenant rights will remain the same and tenants will continue to be housed for the duration of their need,” she said.

She said any successful bidder will enter a 25-year contract with the Ministry of Social Development to provide housing places.

Housing New Zealand owns 358 properties in the Bryndwr area, including the house that was once home to former prime minister John Key.

The petition will run “as long as necessary,” according to Ms Scott.

An information pack has been released to potential providers and those interested will be invited to a market sounding session with Treasury early next year.