26 May 2015

Tax breaks could put some out of running for state house

12:45 pm on 26 May 2015

A Far North housing provider says tax breaks given to some families in the Budget could knock them off the list for a state house.

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Photo: RNZ

Ricky Houghton, who heads He Korowai Trust, said all family income was taken into account when people apply for social housing, and last week's boost to Working For Families would put some over the limit.

He said the family tax credits should be regarded as children's money and ring-fenced, not seen as income that was disposable for other purposes, like rent.

He said Korowai Trust was using old state houses from Auckland to build a small community in Kaitai, and the first batch of new home-owners will take possession in July.

In a statement, Minister for Social Housing, Paula Bennett, rejected Mr Houghton's claims.

She said that advice she had received from the Ministry for Social Development was that someone on the waiting list for social housing would not have their income pushed above the income limit for eligibility through the welfare income boosts in the Budget.

Mrs Bennet said that the income limit was set at 1.5 times the married couple rate of New Zealand Superannuation for people with children and that comes to about $820 per week, before tax, and was above the cut-out points for main benefits.

She said the in-work tax credit (which increases by $12.50 per week for working families) was not treated as income for the purposes of IRRS.