Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford needs to swiftly clamp down on state housing tenants that are renting out surplus rooms in their social housing properties, National’s Social Housing spokesperson Simon O’Connor says.

“Housing New Zealand officials admitted at the Social Services Select Committee yesterday some tenants are renting out spare rooms in their state houses.

“But when Mr Twyford was questioned about this today, he wasn’t aware state houses were available to rent on Airbnb, and couldn’t provide an answer on how he would stop this from happening.

“How can Mr Twyford have confidence with Housing New Zealand’s tenancy management when people are clearly living in houses larger than their needs?

“Mr Twyford’s mismanaged approach to housing challenges in New Zealand has seen over 8,500 people on a waiting list for accommodation in Auckland – a record high.

“Why is Housing New Zealand allowing tenants to have spare rooms, when there is such high demand?

“National was focused on ensuring Housing New Zealand’s homes were in the right place and of the right size to best fit its tenants’ needs.

“Tenancy reviews were a practical and effective solution ensuring houses matched tenants’ current needs. With the axing of these reviews, tenants are living in homes larger than required – taking the mickey out of Housing New Zealand by generating extra income.

“Mr Twyford was extremely vocal about the last Government’s actions on State Housing, yet he’s been in the job for almost a year and the number of people on the waiting list has increased.

“The Minister has no idea what is happening in his state houses, nor can he provide any detail on how he is going ensure tenants are in houses that best suit their needs.” 

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