Since this Labour led government took office in 2017, there have been 24,386 reports of anti-social behaviour by state or emergency housing tenants. When the Minister for public housing Kris Faafoi was finally made to answer how many evictions had occurred, his answer drew a shocked response in the House from National MPs - only ONE eviction in response to those 24,000-plus complaints.
The North Shore, with its share of state houses, is not immune from these problems and constituents have come to me as their local MP with upsetting cases of being verbally or physically abused by their neighbouring tenants. Through no fault of their own, law-abiding citizens have been subjected to harassment and intimidation and unfortunately some are living in fear in their own homes. I’ve been advocating on behalf of families who are tired of the woefully inadequate responses from Kāinga Ora, which is the largest public housing provider in New Zealand.
In response to my urgent request for action in mid-December, the letter back in mid-January from Kāinga Ora's manager of government relations informed me, “Ending tenancies places vulnerable people in an even more vulnerable situation... The overall aim is to help people remain in or get back to, a state of well-being and help them to lead happy, balanced, fulfilling lives so they can sustain their tenancies...” But what about the wellbeing of the long suffering neighbours and communities?
The agency is simply ignoring the harm to adjoining property owners who are the victims of tenants who are even allowed to brandish gang insignia on government-provided housing.
They are quick to point out that all tenants sign agreements to be “good neighbours”, but when that contract is broken, there are no repercussions. With all this bad behaviour and only one eviction, it begs the question, what would it take for Kāinga Ora to act decisively?
This government’s social housing policies are a woeful failure and it’s no wonder their tenants continue their anti-social behaviour at the expense of the peace of mind of law-abiding communities, when there are no consequences.
Labour needs to stop virtue signalling and act now to direct Kāinga Ora to stop this growing problem. It has no right to call itself a compassionate government with a record number of deserving families languishing on a growing waiting list while scarce housing stock is taken up by anti-social tenants who squander their opportunities and abuse the generosity of the state.
It’s been a humbling privilege for me to represent the North Shore as your MP for nine thoroughly stimulating years, and as you may know I’ve announced I’ll be retiring from Parliament at the next election. National is currently selecting the new candidate and I will be giving my wholehearted support to whoever is chosen and work hard alongside the team to increase our Party vote and elect a National government. Until then, it’s business as usual and I’ll continue to advocate and work hard on your behalf so please contact Miriam in my Takapuna electorate office if you’d like to make an appointment to see me.
Electoral Office: 09 486 0005, 15 Anzac St, Takapuna | Facebook maggiebarrynz | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org