First families get payments by Christmas

The regulation change allowing Housing NZ to make discretionary grants to those who were wrongly evicted for methamphetamine contamination has been made and the first 55 people are being paid from today, Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford announced.

The regulation changes were agreed by Cabinet last Monday, and became effective on Friday. The first payments were processed as soon as the regulation came into force.

Phil Twyford said Housing NZ is fronting up and redressing the hardships caused by the meth debacle.

“Housing NZ is working with other government agencies to find those affected and contact has been made with 295 people so far. A further 92 assistance claims have been approved, and once an offer has been made and accepted, these payments will be made immediately.

“Housing NZ is taking a case by case approach and reimbursing costs tenants incurred. They are making discretionary grants to cover expenses such as moving costs and furniture replacement. The average payment so far is $7,735 and each affected tenant has received a formal apology from Housing NZ.

“I committed to having the first payments made by Christmas and our Government is following through. We’re committed to putting this right because this systemic failure of government had far reaching consequences for many people.

“Housing NZ is a very different organisation under the helm of chief executive Andrew McKenzie and under our Government. We’re enshrining Housing NZ’s new social objectives in legislation to make sure their focus is on continuing to be the compassionate landlord they’ve become.

“These social objectives will be kept when Housing NZ becomes part of the proposed Urban Development Authority and there will be no changes for tenants.

“Housing NZ is well on track to becoming a world class public housing landlord,” Phil Twyford said.