Press Release – St David’s Anglican Church
Naenae urgently needs more housing. To highlight this dire situation, St David’s church congregation has decided to spend this weekend on vacant Housing NZ land opposite the church.
It has been four years since Housing NZ gave notice to hundreds of tenants throughout the Hutt Valley. Scores of houses were boarded up, then eventually knocked down, leaving 17,000sqm of barren land. This has helped create epic demand for housing, which has in turn lead to rental price hikes and housing prices pitched way out of reach for too many urgently needing housing.
“Housing is a basic human right, but we don’t see the Government responding to that need in our neighbourhood, “ St David’s spokesperson Rev Martin Robinson said.
“Instead, what we see is 100 applicants turning up to rent an ordinary house. We see overcrowding, with all of the flow on health and family issues. We see the numbers of people on MSD’s social housing register doubling from 107 in Dec 2014 to 215 in Dec 2016. And we see 94 of these are for Naenae.“
“But we are definitely not seeing any action to rectify the situation. Four years is far too long. During this time, we saw eight Housing NZ units demolished across from our church, and nothing has happened to replace them. The same has happened on Naenae Rd, and on an epic scale throughout neighbouring Epuni. By way of contrast, during that same period, we as a church have built four houses with our own limited resources: two of these on the church land itself.”
“Our congregation feels very upset about this lack of action from the Government. Like so many that we know, we want accountability, consultation and action. Four years is far too long.”
Details of the event:
From 9am Friday 7 April to 2pm Sunday 9 April, St David’s Anglican Church Naenae-Epuni will be camping on the vacant Housing NZ land opposite the church in Seddon Street, Naenae. There will be a series of public events on the site, culminating in a larger final event at 1pm Sunday 9 April.
It is a peaceful protest, drawing attention to the unjust inactivity of Housing NZ and the Government in replacing eight demolished units on that site. This is a small example of a far bigger housing issue that the Government has dropped the ball on.
There is a housing crisis in Naenae. This is a classic example of a wider housing issue nationally.
· Housing NZ boarded up, then demolished, scores of houses in the Hutt Valley, leaving lots of vacant land, especially in Epuni & Naenae.
· The housing stock needed to be demolished – but it has become clear there were no plans to replace them with new stock.
· Despite the demolitions taking place years ago, the public are not aware of any plans to build new housing on this land, in spite of the huge demand for housing.
· Reports have emerged that HNZ had planned to remove more than a thousand properties in Hutt Valley – 30% of their stock. The opposite is needed! We need more houses – not less!
· Lack of housing has forced increased demand on rental and privately owned housing. House prices and rentals are soaring as a result.
· In Naenae, houses for rent are getting more than 50 enquiries. We heard of one recently with 100 enquiries.
· Agencies and Health professionals report overcrowding in houses, which is bad for everyone’s health, especially children. Health professionals are reporting the resurgence of diseases related to poverty and poor housing.
· There is far too much poor quality housing stock in Naenae and the Hutt Valley, both public & private.
What we want
Quality housing is a social good, a basic need. We urgently need more quality housing. To achieve this effectively, we urgently need the government to consult openly and equally with affected communities like Naenae. Government need to develop a plan both for dealing with the housing stock in Naenae which is no longer fit for purpose, and for utilising the existing vacant land. We want to get the best informed outcome for our community. Excellent consultation can lead to a great result, which means everyone wins.