The Government is already being forced to axe programmes which are making a difference to the lives of New Zealanders because it is mindlessly spending money and running out of cash, National Party Housing Spokesperson Michael Woodhouse says.

“Housing Minister Phil Twyford has struggled to explain why he is axing the relocation grants which have helped almost 500 households, potentially thousands of people, move from Auckland to other parts of New Zealand and it’s clear why he is so unconvincing – it’s an indefensible decision.

“The housing shortage remains most acute in Auckland and this programme was helping hundreds of families move to the regions where there are lots of jobs and fewer housing pressures, and at the same time freeing up houses in Auckland.

“It gave these families an opportunity to take a job and set themselves up in other parts of New Zealand which are thriving.

“And on average it was saving the taxpayer $170 a week in subsidised housing costs for every family that moved out of Auckland. With the average grant being about $4,637 the Government was seeing a saving in costs well within a year of people moving.

“The grants were a useful part of the former Government’s comprehensive housing plan, playing a part in easing pressure in Auckland while the record residential building boom was underway to address the shortage. For Mr Twyford to argue otherwise is absurd.

“The simple fact is the Government has spent everything already and now it is having to cut its cloth. Just last week KidsCan was told its funding won’t be continued and we know the Government hasn’t left itself any room for everything from police pay rises to conservation funding.

“This is just the start and we will see other areas suffer because this Government isn’t thinking beyond its next set of headlines, it’s playing fast and loose with taxpayer’s money and it’s already feeling the pinch.”

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