VIDEO: Slum boarding houses have 'got to stop' - Labour

19/06/2017

Vulnerable Aucklanders are living in slum boarding houses, run by landlords propped up by Government money.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of boarding houses are exploiting vulnerable people because the Government is struggling to keep up with demand for emergency housing, the Labour Party says.

An investigation by The Nation found horrific conditions at a one boarding house in Onehunga. Most windows were missing panes of glass, leaving the filthy pest-infested house freezing cold. The house smells like excrement because there is no working toilet. 

Tenants are paying $230 a week for a room in the boarding house.

In some cases, including at the Onehunga boarding house, Work and Income pays tenants' rent directly into the account of the landlord. The beneficiary never sees that money and has little control over its payment.

Labour Party's housing spokesperson Phil Twyford told The AM Show it's an emergency.

He said Labour will legislate tough minimum standards to make sure boarding houses are safe, warm and dry: "Not the kind of rat-infested dumps that we saw on Caitlin McGee's fantastic report on The Nation this week."

Labour plans to bring in a warrant of fitness that would "urgently" clean out slum boarding houses within three months of the election.

This is in addition to building thousands of extra state homes and instigating an urgent, comprehensive emergency housing programme. 

Mr Twyford said if you don't provide emergency housing, these boarding houses are the result.

"There are hundreds if not thousands of unregulated, unlicensed boarding houses in Auckland, with people living in the most appalling conditions. It's got to stop.

"The Government should have put relocatables on available public land, just as they did in Christchurch after the earthquake. This is an emergency, for goodness sake."

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