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Protesting state housing tenants to move on

Published: 8:44AM Monday February 20, 2012 Source: ONE News

State housing protesters who have been camped out at an Auckland state house will move on this morning.

Several people barricaded themselves into a vacant house at 25 Silverton Avenue, Glenn Innes, on Saturday in protest against plans to move them on.

The residents have been given notices to vacate as Housing New Zealand redevelops 156 properties in the Tamaki and Glen Innes area.

Housing New Zealand programme manager Graham Bodman told TV ONE's Close Up on Friday night that it was understandable long-term tenants would want to stay in their homes but housing shortages mean land has to be developed to accommodate a growing number of tenants.

He said the 156 properties they are redeveloping will make way for 275 new town houses.

Protesters claim the eviction is an attack on the right to housing for all Kiwis.

Protester Shane Malva told TV ONE's Breakfast today they will be leaving the property this morning, saying they feel they have got their message out.

"We feel we've made our point and we don't wish to antagonize the situation with the police anymore," he said.

"We don't think there is anything to gain by forcing a standoff."

He said there are a range of issues with the proposed re-developments and they will be working with the community to take their fight further.

"They're high density so they're high rise and a lot smaller and a lot of them don't have gardens. And there is a lot of elderly residents, some of them pensioners, and they have difficulties with stairs and mobility."

Breaking up the community

Salva claims Housing New Zealand is breaking up the community by moving people of the homes. He said children will have to find new schools.

"Some of them have been there for 57 years, 5th generation. There are family ties and community ties, church groups, schools and they're being taken out of all of that and being alienated. It is really tragic and heart breaking to see."

He said there are proposed plans to create more state houses.

"HNZ aim is to provide the most housing. At the moment there is 1500 and 100 of them are empty so there is 10,000 people on the waiting list for a state house so why are their empty homes?"

HNZ plans to sell off the properties to developers or redevelop the land to accommodate high density housing.

"Some of the land that's being developed will be used for high density housing but the best land with the nicest views will be sold to property developers," Salva said.

Salva said the homes were created for people to stay in for life.

But Prime Minister John Key, who lived in a state house for 10 years as a child, told TV ONE's Breakfast that they have changed that.

"We've said is that now if you go into a state house you have a fixed tenancy. Now it doesn't mean you can't stay beyond that but it means its renewable or reviewable.

"And the reason for that is that is there is a real cost advantage staying in a state house."

Asked if they were moving people out of areas which have become wealthy, Key said state house tenants will not be shifted out and sent to ghettos.

He said the new homes are great and will have a range of sizes to cater for different families and for people who are living on their own.

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