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Investigation Of An Allegation Of Improper Practice Underway

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Investigation Of An Allegation Of Improper Practice Underway

Housing New Zealand is investigating an allegation a staff member has been offering applicants for state houses preferential treatment, in return for money, Chief Executive Dr Lesley McTurk said today.

"I can reassure everyone this situation is being thoroughly investigated. Immediate employment action has been taken," Dr McTurk said.

"Once our investigation is complete, it will be possible to make a decision whether it is appropriate to bring the matter to the attention of the Police."

Housing New Zealand began an investigation in January after being approached with information that money was being sought by a staff member, in return for state house tenancies.

Information has been obtained which suggests that some tenants in Auckland may have been housed with a greater priority than their circumstances warranted. There is also information to indicate that money may have been paid to intermediaries in the community acting on behalf of the staff member concerned.

"Housing New Zealand is appalled by the allegations," Dr McTurk said.

"I won't tolerate staff dishonesty or the exploitation of customers. Getting to the bottom of this allegation is a priority.

"I am making this public because Housing New Zealand is committed to providing a fair and level playing field for people applying for state houses. That means acting when we think there may have been abuse of our processes, and doing so transparently," Dr McTurk said.

"State houses are allocated on the basis of housing need. We measure housing need using criteria around residency, income, assets and sustainability of living conditions. This ensures everyone gets assessed the same way and those with the greatest need get priority.

"It is important that Housing New Zealand sends a clear and unequivocal message to the community, and our customers, that our staff and processes can be trusted, and we will fully investigate any claims of wrongdoing.

"All the indications are this is an isolated situation. Housing New Zealand has robust, regularly audited processes in place to manage the fair allocation of state homes.

"However, to provide additional reassurance to our customers and stakeholders, I have commissioned KPMG to conduct an independent review of Housing New Zealand's home allocation processes to identify what, if any, improvements might be made." Dr McTurk said.

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