McCarten takes over state house in by-election stunt
The supporters of a Mana by-election candidate have taken over an empty state house as a protest at what they claim is the uncaring nature of big government.
They have installed a young couple who previously have been living in a garage and are challenging Housing New Zealand to evict them. …
“These places are empty. There are people who are living in garages; it’s real,” Mr McCarten says.
That must have rattled some cages. By 10:35pm there was this second report:
Four arrested in Mana by-election stunt
Four supporters of a political candidate in the Mana by-election have been arrested tonight after they took over an empty state house. …
Mana candidate Matt McCarten and his supporters arrived at the Porirua police station this evening after they had been told four campaigners were arrested and charged with being on a property without permission.
“People are saying they can’t get any response, that they can’t get houses but then what we have is one protest and suddenly the housing corporation swings into action within minutes and people cleaned off and stuck in jail,” Mr McCarten says. …
Housing New Zealand issued a statement this afternoon saying Mr McCarten’s action was illegal and unfair on others waiting for a house and anyone on the property would be served with a trespass notice.
They told 3 News tonight that police have taken their own action; going one step further and arresting them, which they say is entirely appropriate under the circumstances.
I think it is wrong to call this action a “stunt”. To do so is to diminish the significance of the issue to which it was drawing attention. Call it a protest. People are living in squalor while state houses sit empty. Why?
Readers query why state houses empty
EMPTY state houses being sold while people wait for accommodation is shocking, some readers of The Star say.
City residents have reacted with surprise and anger to news 143 Dunedin people are on Housing New Zealand’s waiting list. The government department should not be letting houses lie vacant, and nor should it be selling houses while there is a waiting list, they say. …
After reading last week’s stories (The Star, May 27), which said there was a waiting list for placement in Dunedin and Mosgiel’s 1485 state homes, of which 35 were empty, some readers contacted The Star with information and comments about Housing NZ properties that were vacant or for sale.
The stories included comment from young mother Alisha Hays, who was on the waiting list and said she was willing to take any house she was offered. Rebecca Kirby told The Star two state houses next door to her Barclay St, Pine Hill, home had been empty for 12 and six months respectively. …
In the context of the government’s “review” of state houses and plans for their sale, it all looks decidedly dodgy. It looks like houses are being kept deliberately empty to make it easier to flog them off. Meanwhile people are sleeping in wet garages. Is this the kind of country that we want New Zealand to be?
Matt McCarten has done us all a favour by drawing attention to these issues.