“Often we are having people that are declining houses without good and sufficient reason, and if that is the case then I don’t think they should stay ahead of others on the list. And we should, there should actually be some repercussions for that.”
She said if the waiting list was small that might not matter, but at any one time 4,500 are waiting for a house.
At the same time, Social Development Minister Anne Tolley rejected criticism of iniatives in the Budget requiring sole parents to be available to work more.
Under the changes, sole parents will have to be available to work once their youngest child turns three, rather than five at the moment, and work 20 hours not 15.
Mrs Tolley was asked at the conference why the Government was waiting until next April before increasing the benefit for beneficiary families by $25 a week.
She said the Government had considered increasing the payment immediately on Budget night, but decided against it so that people would be able to make submissions to the select committee on the changes to the work obligations for sole parents.