‘Paula Bennett’s latest surprise announcement on housing reeks of panicked desperation.
‘Offering grants of up to $5000 for 150 state house tenants and homeless people to move to provincial towns is like shifting deckchairs on the Titanic,’ says AAAP spokesperson Sue Bradford.
‘Last time Paula Bennett tried this on, she planned to send Pacific Island families to South Island towns like Ashburton.
“As it turned out there were few job opportunities available and even fewer houses.
“I suspect the situation will be little different this time around, and that there are in fact already people in desperate housing – and employment – need in Huntly, Ngaruawahia, Hamilton and Gisborne.
“At the same time, if there really are state houses going spare in these towns, and people from Auckland keen to move, that’s great.
“However, even if this scheme unexpectedly proves to be a grand success, it will only go to help a fraction of the families and individuals who are homeless in Auckland right now.
“It’s reached the point where National should stop using Paula Bennett as a scapegoat for their complete failure as a Government to deal with what’s staring them in the face.
‘The whole caucus should be turning their minds to ways to address the crisis.
‘Our group and many others on the frontline will be more than happy to offer sensible solutions, the first and most obvious being to set up an accelerated state house building, training and employment programme, now, using state owned land as a base.
‘Marae, community groups, churches, and charitable individuals are left trying to pick up the pieces of this Government’s massive and deliberate failure to deal with a crisis they’ve been warned about for years.
‘If Paula Bennett’s announcement this afternoon is the best National can do, the future looks very grim for the thousands of people who are homeless in Aotearoa right now.’