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Greens want to build houses for homeless

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 19/05/2016

The Greens want to build more state houses to help New Zealanders forced to live in cars, garages or on the streets.

Under the policy announced by Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei, Housing NZ would keep its dividend and have its tax refunded, freeing up $207 million in the next financial year to spend on the emergency building of about 450 new state houses.

"We have a housing emergency in this country, happening right now, and our plan is an urgent, direct response to it," Ms Turei said.

She said it's "ludicrous" that there are about 4500 people on the waiting list for a state house, but Housing NZ is forced to prioritise paying the government millions of dollars in dividends and tax.

"All of that money could and should be put towards building state homes and housing vulnerable Kiwi families - the government just needs to make it happen."

But the government is hitting back, saying Housing NZ is already building more homes than that, and it's also sourcing more homes from community housing providers.

"Housing New Zealand faces the same planning constraints as any other developer and can only go as fast as the current local planning rules allow," Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett said.

"The Greens' policy is a slogan, not a plan. We're already building more than they propose, and they haven't put aside funding to actually put people in those houses."

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