Suburbs aren’t ‘rural’- MP


Residents in Queenstown’s Lake Hayes Estate and Shotover Country wanting housing assistance are potentially $120 to $150 a week worse off than other locals.

The anomaly arises because for Work and Income’s accommodation supplement – for people struggling with the cost of renting, boarding or owning a home – those two suburbs are classified as Area 4, or ‘rural’, whereas the rest of Queenstown’s an urban-classified Area 1.

Local MP Hamish Walker’s lobbying the government, and the relevant minister, to fix this blatant discrepancy.

By every definition he can find, the two densely-inhabited subdivisions aren’t rural.

He’s already had more than a dozen letters of support from local community groups, but he’s calling for more.

“I need as many as possible to present to the minister.

“Depending on the household’s cir-cumstances, a change of designation from an Area 4 home to an Area 1 home could amount to an extra $120 to $150 per week for those struggling with the high cost of living in Queenstown.

“An extra $120 to $150 per week makes a huge difference to many people.

“In many cases, it is the make-or-break in what bills are getting paid.

“Queenstown is often seen as a high-income resort town, but the fact is many people are struggling and living pay cheque to pay cheque.

“This extra money will make a huge difference to many.”