Press Release – Quality Housing For All
Protesters who yesterday occupied a state home that had been taken from Glen Innes to Mt Wellington have been being arrested by police. Mana party leader Hone Harawira has been arrested along with three other protesters.
The Tamaki Housing Action Group has been fighting against the removal of houses and eviction of families. The agreement signed by Mayor Len Brown and the Minister of Housing Phil Heatley in August has seen the formation of the Tamaki Redevelopment Company which serves to gentrify the working-class suburb of Pasifika and Maori families. THAG says this is pulling apart their community for the purpose of privatizing houses owned by the public.
On Tuesday protestors occupied the Auckland Town Hall where Brown’s office is. GI resident Makelesi Ngata said, “Glen Innes is a community, not a company. The benefits our people, especially our young people, get from belonging to a strong community like GI – these benefits should never be sold for short-term profits.”
For six months protestors have been picketing the twice weekly house removals from Glen Innes, getting arrested and then released with no charges. Protestors have been injured in these pickets: last week a 22-year-old female was concussed when the the police line violently pushed protestors up the road.
Houses are being removed under the cover of night whilst Housing New Zealand has closed its offices in Glen Innes shutting down the ability of state house tenants to talk directly to the government agency. Residents have been coming out, but the presence of paddy-wagons and scores of police officers is intimidating. Housing New Zealand has been sending officials out to tenants’ homes telling them if they protest their house will be next.
News release from NZ Labour Party
The protest in Glen Innes last night calling for a moratorium on National’s state housing sell-off shows the community is staunch in its opposition to the Government’s renewal and refurbishment plan, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Annette King.
“This Government’s commitment to social housing is at an all-time low. Its bullying tactics in communities like Glen Innes are deplorable.
“Last night’s rally, organised by the Tamaki Housing Group, shows that Housing New Zealand tenants are not going to take this Government’s two fingered salute sitting down,” Annette King said.
“This week has seen a groundswell of action from tenants being moved out of homes for various reasons, adding to an already lengthy waiting list.
“Labour has tried to get Housing Minister Phil Heatley to work with tenants, to develop a genuine partnership and to come up with a proposal that helps more people into affordable quality housing to no avail.
“In his race to get rid of state housing Mr Heatley hasn’t even checked how many houses his department have sold off, demolished, or abandoned. This is careless stuff.
“The degradation of social housing stock is damaging for communities no matter what way you look at it and pushing low-income tenants into the private rental market is not a solution.
“A Labour-led Government will have affordable housing at the centre of our economic and social policy,” Annette King said.
News release from John Minto – October 11
From Glen Innes to Baghdad – MANA will be supporting a rally in Glen Innes this evening to oppose the ongoing destruction of the Glen Innes community by the mass removal of state houses. The rally has been organised by the Tamaki Housing Group for 7pm this evening in Apirana Avenue, Glen Innes (opposite top end of Castledine Cres).
“Over the past three months dozens of state houses have been removed from Glen Innes leaving parts of the community looking like the war-torn suburbs of Baghdad” says MANA Vice President John Minto.
“Housing Minister Phil Heatley is determined to slash the number of state houses in Glen Innes – in the first stage of the “redevelopment” the number will be halved – from 156 to just 78 – and the land sold to private developers for high-cost housing. The Minister does not believe people on low-incomes should be able to enjoy a sea view”.
“Glen Innes is a community being torn apart for private profit by a couldn’t-care-less government”.
“Every time houses have been moved, under cover of darkness and without media attention, the police have often acted in a thuggish brutal manner towards protestors and the stoic women of Glen Innes who are leading this struggle to protect their community”.
Dozens of people have arrested in the process – eight more last Thursday.
The rally will be calling for a moratorium on the so-called “redevelopment” so the community can negotiate proposed changes with the government.
When this development was first proposed the community were promised:
1. That the number of state houses would NOT decrease and
2. That NO-ONE would be evicted from their home if they didn’t want to go.
“Both promises have been trashed along with the state houses themselves”.