Housing Hikoi

Napier’s Tu Tangata Maraenui members were among marchers protesting in Wellington last week over changes to housing policy they say are causing families to live in overcrowded conditions.

After our post yesterday debunking the drivel spouted by Deborah Hill Cone about the local protests about a lack of quality HNZ properties in Maraenui, here is preview of the article on them in this weeks Napier Mail.

Marchers in Wellington

Two and three families are crowding into one home in Napier, says a protest group — the result of changes to Housing New Zealand criteria.

Tu Tangata Maraenui joined other groups marching on Parliament last Wednesday, to protest against changes to the government’s social housing policy.

Group spokeswoman Chantelle Brown said the changes had closed the door to most people needing a state house, and shut Housing New Zealand offices, reducing all contact to an 0800 number.

“The emptying out of state houses, their demolition and sell-off to private developers is happening not just here but all over the country,” said Ms Brown.

“While perfectly solid state houses stand empty waiting to be sold, in the same street two and three families are crowded into one home, because people aren’t eligible for state houses and can’t afford private rentals.”

She said two van-loads of people fr0m Maraenui drove down to Wellington last Tuesday night, staying at the Wainuiomata marae, with protesters from Glen Innes.

They were joined by the Pomare housing group at the rally, and members of the Service and Food Workers miion marched with them.

“We were well supported by our kaumatua, Maori wardens, by the chief executive of Maraenui’s social services agency Te Roopu a Iwi, as well as Ngahiwi Tomoana, the head of Ngati Kahungunu Iwi, who marched with us . . . it meant a lot to have them at our side,” said Ms Brown.

On the steps of Parliament, the protesters presented a petition to Green, Mana and Labour party MPs.

Ms Brown said the Tu Tangata Maraenui is meeting regularly to monitor the housing situation and get their stories out to the wider public.

“We want to show others what this cruel policy is doing to the most vulnerable members of our community.

“We know now that it’s happening right across New Zealand, and we are saying that it has to stop.”

(Published in The Napier Mail, November 14, 2012)
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