Press Release – Tu Tangata Maraenui
Tu Tangata Maraenui, a community organisation founded last year to protest against the housing crisis caused by the government’s social housing policy, is again joining groups from Glen Innes and Pomare in returning to Parliament on Wednesday to provide evidence of the petition they presented in November to the Parliamentary Social Services Committee.
“We are going to show them the horrible mess this policy has created in our community,” Tu Tangata spokesperson Arapera Brown said today. “We now have over 100 empty properties, almost a quarter of the State Housing stock in Maraenui. “Our streets are ugly and unsafe, the empty houses are being trashed and vandalised, and our kids are hiding in them and getting into mischief. They are creating criminals in a vulnerable community.
“They have taken a connected, vibrant community and scattered us all over the city, while the new rules for eligibility criteria eliminate many low income families who don’t qualify for state houses and have been forced into expensive private rentals sharing overcrowded houses with whanau.
“It’s a disaster, and we have no indication from Housing New Zealand as to what they think is going to happen to our suburb.”
The group recently met with housing New Zealand’s new Chief Executive Glen Sowry who said they would be re-opening the HNZ office in Maraenui, doing a survey of all HNZ homes in Napier to identify earthquake-prone residences, and trying to re-populate some of the empty houses that are all right.
“The government talks about having social housing providers pick up the needy families left high and dry by this cruel policy,” Arapera said, “but there are none here in Napier to do that. Anyhow, with only a total of $104 million made available by the government to subsidise social housing providers right across NZ for the next three years, nothing will be coming our way. Christchurch and Auckland have got to be top priorities, while we are being squeezed out of what is left of the decreasing HNZ stock in Napier.”
The group is also meeting with Associate Housing Minister Tariana Turia as well as dropping off copies of Robert Consedine’s book “Healing our History” to Race Relations Commissioner Susan Devoy, in the hope that this will help her understand the Treaty of Waitangi better.
Tu Tangata Maraenui meets weekly upstairs at the EIT Maraenui, Tuesday nights 5:30 pm.