Hidden away at the end of this story, hidden away out of most media view, hidden away from Housing New Zealand, and from society… ordinary people being shafted by National’s cuts.
Housing NZ offices getting shut (with the workers not even allowed to attend their own farewells), and contact points being lost. People still get their threat letters from Housing NZ – probably more so for the squeeze – but now have nowhere to take them to be dealt with by a person.
Michael Ofanoa, 35, a solo father of two who came to the Wiri office yesterday to file an income statement and supporting documents, said he needed to get the documents to Housing NZ urgently, otherwise the agency would raise his rent to market rental. He was told to try the Manurewa office.
“I’ve got a car but no warrant and no registration. I’ll go home and get my bike,” he said.
Rotorua tenant Kathy Hillman-Te Rupe, 39, received a letter saying her rent would go up from $50 a week to the market rental of $232 from tomorrow unless she provided documents proving that she had changed her surname after fleeing to a women’s refuge.
She sent the documents by mail yesterday, but was worried they might not arrive in time.
Simple, low cost services, like lending people the tools to fix their own houses – saving Housing NZ on repairs – shut down.
While the cuts go on, with 162 useful employees made redundant, and front line staff being lost, they spend $30,000 to send the chief executive to a five-day leadership course in London. They sent 6 other senior staffers too. What did they learn? How to sack people nicely? How to hid behind a phone-line when people services are needed? Particularly for people who can’t afford a phone…
Maybe they learnt to double their spending on consultants? $20 million last year, compared to $10 million when Labour left office…