Housing New Zealand (HNZ) is investigating an allegation a staff member has been taking bribes for giving preferential treatment for state houses, chief executive Lesley McTurk said today.
HNZ began an investigation last month after being approached with information that money was being sought by a staff member, in return for state house tenancies.
Information has been obtained which suggested that some tenants in Auckland may have been housed with a greater priority than their circumstances warranted.
There was also information to indicate money may have been paid to intermediaries in the community acting on behalf of the staff member concerned.
"Housing New Zealand is appalled by the allegations," Dr McTurk said.
"I can reassure everyone this situation is being thoroughly investigated. Immediate employment action has been taken. Once our investigation is complete, it will be possible to make a decision whether it is appropriate to bring the matter to the attention of the police."
It had been decided to make the issue public because HNZ would not tolerate exploitation of those applying for state houses.
"It is important that Housing New Zealand sends a clear and unequivocal message to the community, and our customers, that our staff and processes can be trusted, and we will fully investigate any claims of wrongdoing.
"All the indications are this is an isolated situation. Housing New Zealand has robust, regularly audited processes in place to manage the fair allocation of state homes.
"However, to provide additional reassurance to our customers and stakeholders, I have commissioned KPMG to conduct an independent review of Housing New Zealand’s home allocation processes to identify what, if any, improvements might be made." Dr McTurk said.
Housing Minister Phil Heatley said just as the Government would not tolerate anti-social behaviour in tenants it would not put up with dishonesty in staff.
"I am pleased Housing NZ has acted swiftly to investigate these allegations and take necessary action on them and also that they have called in KPMG to review whether the corporation systems leaves them exposed to similar behaviour,'' Mr Heatley said.