To: Horowhenua District Council
Stop the Sale of Horowhenua’s Community Housing
FROM THE NEW MAYOR, MICHAEL FEYEN who is in support of keeping our housing stock:“I support retaining community housing and obtaining the housing nz stock as well. HDC, iwi And Grey Power could form a trust or lease agreement:) HLC could conduct apprenticeships around building, plumbing, electrician, painters, etc to maintain and upgrade the increased housing stock. Great potential for HDC employment and community, with a business case:) I trust this petition gets support as it is vital for our districts future that we have affordable housing.”
The Horowhenua District Council is tendering our stock of community housing for sale to an alternative community housing provider. Grey Power however, believes that provision of affordable housing must remain a core activity for central and local government…”The proposal to sell pensioner housing, a key determinant of community wellbeing, is a direct antithesis to community wellbeing”.
We also see the withdrawal of affordable housing for the elderly and disabled as a backward step especially in light of growing homelessness in our country. We believe that in the longer term, an alternative provider will place economic factors above caring for the elderly and therefore request that they halt the tendering of these properties for sale.
Why is this important?
In April this year the Horowhenua District Council announced it was tendering their stock of community housing for sale to an alternative community housing provider.
The justification given by councils NZ wide, including, Horowhenua, to cease providing housing, has been that Government withdrew its responsibility in this respect (including funding) some time back.
HDC insist they’ve identified that “the ‘most sustainable’ way forward for delivering pensioner housing was to transfer the stock and the responsibility to a housing provider that had the focus and resources to respond to the housing needs of the district.” At the same time they say they “… want to ensure that community housing in Horowhenua remains accessible and affordable, and is also connected to services that enhance social connectedness and wellbeing.”
Horowhenua’s Grey Power however, disagrees saying it is their belief that provision of affordable housing must remain a core activity for central and local government. “The proposal to sell pensioner housing, a key determinant of community wellbeing, is a direct antithesis to community wellbeing” they say, and “a council is in a position to see issues across its district and should have concerns about its constituency … a social housing provider will not have the same view.”
We also see the withdrawal of affordable housing for the elderly and disabled as a backward step. HDC state on their Positive Ageing Action Plan that “Horowhenua is a district that embraces its older residents as a highly valued integral part of the community”. We would like to see that plan include the option of the ongoing provision of affordable housing for the elderly, especially in the light of growing homelessness in our country. Handing over this responsibility to private and corporate interests is not going to guarantee they remain housed. A business will always strive to maximize profits and not to ensure the housing of the more vulnerable. It is simply not in their mandate. We therefore do not believe that any clause of sale that stipulates the needs of the elderly be considered will be effective, and that any such provision would eventually be discarded in favour of economic interests.
In line with their pledge to partnership, HDC have said that iwi and current tenants were consulted. Public feedback however is not confirming this. We would like to see some transparency on this pre sale history.
If you agree that the provision of community housing should remain a part of Council’s responsibility please sign our petition.
(1) Horowhenua District Council agrees to put pensioner housing on the market <http://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/78903531/Horowhenua-District-Council-agrees-to-put-pensioner-housing-on-the-market>
(2) Iwi consulted on Horowhenua housing sell off
(3) ‘Keep Council Houses’ <http://kapitiindependentnews.net.nz/keep-council-houses/>
(4) Government open to social housing options
(5) Government, council seek interest from community housing providers in Horowhenua <https://www.nbr.co.nz/article/government-council-seek-interest-community-housing-providers-horowhenua-b-191828>
(6) Proposed social and affordable housing transfer in Horowhenua and Otaki <http://www.treasury.govt.nz/statesector/socialhousing/horowhenua-otaki-sht>
(7) Mayor Feyen wants to keep pensioner homes as income source
GO HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION
There will be a protest against the selling of the community housing, and the rolling of the new Deputy Mayor Cr Ross Campbell … outside the HDC building at 126 Oxford Street in Levin on Wednesday 7th December! A peaceful protest … but one that will send a clear message that those who voted for our current Mayor are not happy with what is happening. Please come and bring a placard if you can.
You will find updates or changes at the Facebook page, at the Nua , on our own FB pages and our petition page here.
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5 thoughts on “Stop the Sale of Horowhenua’s Community Housing”
All strength to all of you involved in this vital struggle!
In 2001-3 we faced a similar situation in Auckland City (under Mayor John Banks) when all council-owned housing was marked for sell-off – pensioner units included… After a vigorous campaign of occupations, protests, etc, the (Labour) govt stepped in and acquired the entire housing stock that hadn’t already been sold. Some saw this as a Pyrrhic victory that mostly served politicians’ interests; the rightwing council got its way while the Clark govt kept egg off its face.
Stand strong you good people of Horowhenua!
Beware neoliberal fancy-footwork!!
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Thanks Jim. And thanks for sharing your district’s story. Becoming a common one. Sadly though ours have now gone, at a fire sale price, and to a property developer Willis & Bond with a front company called Compassion Housing. Fancy footwork alright! If you type community housing in the search box you’ll see all the articles on it. Willis & Bond have high rise housing developments in Ak.
Oh Dear! Well you tried Pam. And they dare to call this form of privatisation ”social housing” !!
Ha ha, indeed they do. Sugar coating for the more gullible. They have a 13 year limit on the ‘compassion’ aspect (enough to see most of the current tenants ‘out’) but I’ve been assured W&B are really kind people and it’s unlikely they’d sell them. We all know property developers are in it for people 😉