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Key defends housing policy

08:03 Mon Feb 20 2012

State house tenants aren't being shifted out and sent to ghettos, Prime Minister John Key says.

He's defending the government's housing policy in the face of protests in Auckland where there's anger over state houses being sold.

Mr Key, who himself grew up in a state house, says the Tamaki redevelopment in Auckland started under the previous government.

"We're developing 156 additional homes and we're resizing - some people are living in four-bedroom houses on their own," he said on TV One on Monday.

Asked whether Housing NZ was moving people out of areas which had become wealthy and sending them to ghettos, Mr Key said that wasn't happening.

"They're great homes in the Tamaki development, it's part of a program to make sure we can house a very large and growing list of people who need state houses."

Housing NZ was planning to meet police on Monday morning to discuss removing a group of protesters occupying a state house in Glen Innes, but they've decided to leave.

About 10, including members of the group Socialist Aotearoa, spent the weekend at an empty Silverton Ave house.

Spokesman Shane Malva says the group will leave before they're forced out, Radio New Zealand reports.