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Labour condemns state house sell-off

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 12/08/2016

The government has found a buyer for more than 1000 Tauranga state houses and Labour says the sell-off is "untenable and immoral".

Finance Minister Bill English says an agreement is being finalised with IHC subsidiary Accessible Properties for 1124 Housing NZ properties.

He expects negotiations will be completed in October.

The government is selling batches of state houses in several centres, amid strident protests from opposition parties.

Mr English says the aim is to develop more diverse ownership of social housing.

"The status quo - one very large state-run provider - is not doing a good enough job supporting vulnerable people," he said on Friday.

Labour's Phil Twyford says the deal won't house a single extra homeless person in Tauranga.

"Like the rest of New Zealand, the city has a crisis of housing affordability and homelessness," he said.

"It has pensioners living in camp grounds and families sleeping in cars - selling off state houses will do nothing to house these people."

Mr Twyford says the government has an agenda "to take the state out of state housing".

Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett says existing tenancy conditions will remain the same when the homes are sold.

Accessible Properties was one of three shortlisted respondents.

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