When the PM takes to his feet in the house, you can pretty much guarantee that he’ll have a punchline or two up his sleeve…someone needs to tell him that sarcasm really is the lowest form of wit. Given that we are faced with increasing numbers of hardship stories – its difficult to stomach his humour.
Last night myself, Chris Carter and David Cunliffe hosted a public meeting on housing concerns. The decision to hold it on this issue, was due to the number of heart wrenching housing stories that us MPs are experiencing escalating numbers of. I thought I’d blog about a couple. The scary thing is that the two cases I discuss below, are becoming more and more common. I’ve changed the names etc.
Sarah came to see me today regarding her housing situation. Sarah and her husband currently live in a private rental, paying $415 a week. The house leaks regularly and is not a healthy home for her children. She has just had her sixth child two weeks ago.
Sarah advised that she applied for a Housing New Zealand property, and went through the interview process and was waiting on a confirmation letter. Instead she received a letter saying HNZ were closing her case due to documents not being provided.
Sarah was adamant that she provided them, and went to the HNZ branch where she lodged them. She said she spoke to the person who she gave the documents to, and she apologised and found the forms, and discovered they hadnt been lodged. Sarah said she requested she speak to the Manager as she was very disappointed that this had happened. She was told the Manager was unavailable. The person behind the counter then went to speak to another advisor, who advised she needed to re-apply and go through the whole process again.
Sarah has advised that she has done this, and complied with everything that has been asked of her (as she did last time). She says she has been asked however to provide another letter from her Doctor regarding her son’s condition, which will cost her to go and get again, and she has already provided all the medical information that was asked for.
She says she was also asked to provide her passport and driver license, however this was all stolen from her car. Sarah advised she has given a police report to support this. Sarah advised that she has previously provided copies of her passport and license to HNZ, so this should already be on file.
This process has taken twice as long as it should have, through no fault of her own. This is causing considerable stress for Sarah, when she is still recovering and caring for a newborn.
Sarah is doing everything she can to help her family through this difficult time, including receiving budgeting advice, but their current situation is unhealthy and unsustainable.
Ana came in to see me last week regarding her housing situation. She is currently living in her sister’s two bedroom HNZ property, with herself and her four children sharing one small room. She has twin babies (four months old), a three year old and a six year old.
Ana advised she was living in a private rental, but due to the house being very cold she moved in with her sister. Her twins were born prematurely at 28 weeks and have specific health requirements. Ana advised she has given copies of the medical records that reflect this.
She advised she has been on the HNZ waiting list since November of last year, and that she had been working and is now on maternity leave. However, she has had to take extended maternity leave without pay until October, to care for the babies. She has recently applied for the DPB over this period, and said she is unable to meet market rent costs.