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Potential state house buyer pulls out

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 26/05/2016
National MP Paula Bennett during caucas run April 2015.: National MP Paula Bennett. © RNZ / Alexander Robertson National MP Paula Bennett.

The brakes have gone on over the sale of almost 350 state houses in Invercargill, with the sole shortlisted potential buyer pulling out of the process.

The Pact Group was in March invited to submit a formal proposal to the government to buy and manage the state houses.

But Housing NZ Minister Bill English on Friday said Pact has decided to withdraw from the process.

Mr English said the group had decided that buying the houses wasn't "the best opportunity for them to achieve their aspiration of providing services to the community".

That means the sale of the state houses is on hold until the government can assess other options.

There are 1100 state houses on the chopping block in Tauranga and three organisations were shortlisted to buy and manage those.

Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett said that process is progressing well and the government expects to announce its preferred bidder later this year.

The sale of up to 8000 state houses over the next few years - announced in January 2015 - is a major part of the government's shake-up of social housing.

No sales have yet been confirmed.

Meanwhile, the government is looking at a proposal by Horowhenua District Council for the joint sale of council flats and Housing NZ properties to a community housing provider.

The council has proposed to package its 115 pensioner units with 250 state houses in Foxton, Levin and Shannon.

The government is consulting with local iwi and that process is expected to run until July.

"If those discussions are positive, we would then look to outline a joint commercial process with the council," Mr English said.

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