Government still committed to social housing - Paula Bennett

Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett has denied that the Government is washing its hands of state housing as it continues to nut out details about how to delegate its control over the homes.

Housing Source: 1 NEWS

Ms Bennett has conceded that National's new plan to sell off state houses is a form of small asset sale, despite the Government promising it was at the end of such schemes.

However, she told TVNZ's Q&A programme today that the sale is one part of a plan to ensure greater community involvement in the lives of about 6000 Kiwis who are currently waiting for a state house.

Under the Government's new plan, people living in state houses will pay rent based on their income, while a subsidy will be given to cover costs.

Ms Bennett says that while the Government will continue to be the main provider of state houses, community groups such as churches and iwi can also get involved and will have access to the subsidy.

The Minister says that the Government is still trying to figure out how many houses will be sold off and how many new homes will be built within the next 12 months.

She stressed, however, that the new scheme is not about spending millions of dollars on new homes but rather on changing the way the system operates to help cater to more people.

"We're not going to count houses, we're going to count people," says Ms Bennett.

A trial is currently underway where community housing providers can have a say in which tenants they take but could end up being told who they have to provide for.

Ms Bennett says it's likely the Government will continue to look after those people who are more difficult to house due to gang affiliations, criminal records and substance abuse problems.

An announcement is due shortly as to how many more people National expects to have housed by this time next year.