The state landlord is being accused of making a “mockery” of the housing crisis by rejecting homes because of their age and not their condition.
Housing New Zealand will only lease private homes built after the year 2000, saying it ensures tenants are provided with warm, dry and healthy homes.
But National’s housing spokeswoman Judith Collins told 1 NEWS the agency needs to take another look at the “dopey policy” given the current demand for state housing.
In June there were 8,704 families who were registered for a state-provided house, which is a 60 per cent increase on the same time last year.
Mrs Collins argues that the leaky homes syndrome happened after 2000 and that most of the state-owned housing stock was built in the 50s, 60s and 70s.
“It just makes a mockery of the whole concept of a crisis when we've got Housing New Zealand turning down perfectly good homes to lease on the basis that they weren’t built after 2000,” Ms Collins said.
In a statement, Housing New Zealand said homes built prior to 2000 tend to have lower standards, particularly regarding insulation in the walls and floors, where it cannot be easily upgraded.
“The older the house, the more improvements will be needed and the more maintenance issues will arise and the money spent rises accordingly.”
Housing New Zealand said it does not make sense to lease older properties “for those reasons, no matter how good their current status might be.”
Housing New Zealand currently leases 2500 private homes.
The Ministry of Social Development may add private properties built before 2000 to its short term accommodation programme, but Auckland Action Against Povery spokesman Ricardo Menéndez March wants families to be placed into permanent homes.
“There is not enough money being pumped into building state homes fast enough so in the interim, this is why the blanket ban should be removed to alleviate some of the homelessness while the government increases the state housing stock,” Mr Menéndez March said.
Housing Minister Phil Twyford would not comment on the policy as “it’s an operational matter”.