13 Jun 2012

Minster rejects claims of Housing NZ 0800 calls expense

2:23 pm on 13 June 2012

Housing Minister Phil Heatley has rejected claims by the Opposition that unanswered calls to the newly introduced Housing New Zealand 0800 service have cost nearly $100,000.

The 0800 number was introduced in April, replacing many Housing New Zealand offices.

Mr Heatley was questioned over the initiative at a select committee in Parliament on Wednesday.

Labour MP Moana Mackey said her party calculated the cost of the unanswered calls based on Housing New Zealand's April figures and the cheapest rate of an 0800 number.

Mr Heatley dismissed claims Labour's figures, questioning how they arrived at them.

He was unable to tell the committee how many calls were unanswered last month, saying he'd have the figures by the end of the week.

Housing New Zealand officials say they've had a huge uptake in the number of people using the 0800 service since it started, which they expect to level out.