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Rally to protest against Housing New Zealand changes in Maraenui

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Tu Tangata Maraenui, a group of Maraenui residents and supporters, is holding a rally on Thursday, 12 July, at 4 pm at the Maraenui Shopping Centre to protest against the sell-off and demolition of Housing New Zealand (HNZ) homes in Maraenui.

At present, over 50 State Houses in the suburb are empty and awaiting sale, demolition or disposal. They have been emptied out in the last 12 months, reflecting a change in government policy which has made many low-income families and individuals ineligible for Housing New Zealand's income-related rental charges.

The residents feel completely in the dark about Housing New Zealand's intentions. "They say to the press that the houses are empty because no one wants to live in Maraenui," Tu Tangata spokesperson Henare Ratima said. "That's not true - they're empty because they are going to be either sold to private developers or other housing groups.”

 

Mr Ratiman said that some people he visited living in state housing units in Bledisloe Road “are concerned about what is going to happen to them. They have never been contacted by HNZ. Furthermore, they do not want to move and would like to purchase their state unit.This couple were not aware of the sweat equity HNZ policy. The sight of empty houses is creating uncertainty and distress for them.”

In discussion over the phone with the local HNZ Team Leader, Henare Ratima discovered that, “HNZ has no plans drawn up to replace the current housing stock in Maraenui.” He is adamant that “we need more affordable State Housing options in Maraenui, not less."

The local Ward councillor Maxine Boag has invited Housing New Zealand redevelopment manager Hope Simonsen to talk to the people of Maraenui on Friday about their proposed redevelopment plans for Maraenui. Boag says, “all of us, including the City Council - have not been properly filled in about Housing New Zealand's plans for Maraenui.”