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Battle weary & marginalised: state housing

Written By: - Date published: 9:37 am, November 28th, 2013 - 61 comments
Categories: activism, class war, democracy under attack, greens, housing, labour, Left, mana, national, poverty, Privatisation, spin, sustainability - Tags: ,

There is some truth to Tracy Watkins claim (in an op ed piece a week ago explicitly labelled Opinion) that the Law change removing HNZ tenants’ right of tenure passed into law with “barely a ripple”.  She ends the piece with a reference to National’s sly style of piecemeal, step changes, which, in reality add up to a radical shift.

…  National has finally managed to finish what it started in the 1990s, but made a meal of the first time around.

That is, targeting state housing assistance far more tightly to need. But this time it remembered the old proverb – softly softly, catchee monkey.

That last sentence is blowing a raspberry to all those who have campaigned for and/or strongly support the principle of a society that cares for all.  It is 2 fingered salute to those who understand that a functional and healthy society is one without a large inequality gap, and where citizens work together for the good of all.

But this “bare ripple” largely has to do with the ways in which the concerns of those on low incomes have become marginalised by the media and politicians, including politicians of the (alleged) left.  Supporting state housing and its tenants, as well as campaigning against the destruction of NZ’s, once a source of pride, social security system.  It’s just not going to win votes from the much sought after “middle NZ” and its “swing voters”.

It’s a sad indictment on the demise of democracy (or at least of the goal to work towards true democracy).  It is a particular indictment on the “left” and labour movement, because it means they have bought into the “neoliberal” strategy of focusing on politics as “game”, where it is all about winning, strategies and PR: it is less about principle, and a fair society that provides a decent and livable life for all those in the country.

In an (alleged) news report by Tracy Watkins on the same day as the above linked article, she reports on the law changes (is there actually a difference between Watkins opinion pieces and the rest of her articles?). This is not an impartial report. It begins with implying that the law change is revolutionary, and necessary change for the future.

A cornerstone of New Zealand’s welfare system, the state house for life, has passed into history.

A law change has turned the state house system on its head by introducing reviewable tenancies and giving tenants in social housing provided by non-government organisations access to the same rent subsidy as Housing New Zealand.

The subsidy applies to low-income earners and means they pay no more than 25 per cent of their income on rent. Previously, people had to be in a state house to qualify.

On Monday, the NZ Herald gave housing NZ Chief Executive, Glen Sowry, a platform to spin the changes as a great thing.  For anyone who knows of the dire need for affordable housing, and the damaging struggles living in substandard housing, this is a despicable piece of propaganda.  I provided some examples of people struggling to survive in the context of our dire housing situation in an earlier post.

Sowry’s article talks up the positive side of gifting the use of HNZ land to private companies or organisations, so they can build rental or “social” housing there.  A major downside of this is the further demise of state housing.

In Auckland we plan to add thousands of new homes to our housing portfolio over the next 10 years. We’ll do this in two ways: firstly by building new homes, and secondly by working in partnership with other housing providers to build thousands of new homes on our land.

With modern and contemporary design and best practice place-making, we can materially increase the liveability, quality and performance of our properties.

But I’m not talking about the same old approach of high concentrations of state houses in certain areas. Well-proven international experience over the years and, indeed, hard-learned lessons in New Zealand, have shown us that often doesn’t work very well. Our homes in the future will be part of healthy, sustainable, mixed communities that include private owners, affordable rentals and other social housing providers such as councils and not-for-profit organisations.

This all reads like a real estate agent’s spin.

And as for “barely a ripple”?  The Tamaki Housing Group,has been robustly contesting the changes at Glen Innes for quite a long time.

We need to build more houses, not simply move them from place to place only to sell the land freed up to private investors whose goals is to make a profit by building a mansion with a waterview.

This is the gentrification process that is happening in Glen Innes right now, and it does not create new houses that are much needed.

[…]

For a working-class and mostly Maori and Pacific Islander community like GI, this is an economic and ethnic cleansing of the suburb.

The Mana Party has been at the centre of such protests. The struggle goes on:  many tenants are now feeling very anxious (and Sowry’s blatant spin won’t do anything to dampen their fears). Some campaigners could well be feeling a little battle weary right now.  The Green Party Housing Policy strongly supports the increase of state house building, as part of a focus on affordable, sustainable, secure and safe housing.

And Labour?

[Update] Picket of (Nat) Party for the Rich Saturday Dec 8 Akl.

Organised by Auckland Action Against Poverty.

Auckland Boys Grammar, Gate 4 Mountain Road, Epsom

[…]

The Nats are throwing a Christmas party … want to join us in letting John Key and his mates know what we think?

Come prepared to make noise to ensure Key and the rest get the message.

Stop the war on the poor!

Venue Map

Nats Xmas Party for the Rich

 

[Update #2] NZH article by Heather McCracken today: “Cost rises hit families” [h/t bad12]

A Statistics New Zealand survey shows average weekly household spending has increased by more than $90 over the past three years, to $1111.

That’s been driven by significant increases in the cost of food, transport, housing and household utilities such as gas and electricity.

Aucklanders are spending the most, an average of $1253 a week, and spend significantly more on housing, transport and food than residents elsewhere in the country.

The Household Economic Survey showed housing costs and utilities were the biggest household costs at $272, making up about a quarter of household bills on average.

Food costs made up one-fifth of expenses, costing $192 a week on average, up from $177 three years ago.

Darryl Evans, CEO of the Mangere Budgeting Service, said clients were spending a large portion on rent, with very little left for food.

About three-quarters of clients in private rentals were paying 60 to 65 per cent of their income on housing.

More at the link.

61 comments on “Battle weary & marginalised: state housing”

  1. TightyRighty 1

    Do you think the electorate really rates state house tenants having “tenure” as a high priority? when most of the young are reliant on private landlords? and can’t afford houses in auckland, regardless of LVR? You think it’s fair that our taxes should be used to fund what is in effect no-cost home ownership? when so many can’t afford to own a home but don’t qualify for state-housing, or even if they did, can’t get their hands on it because of “tenure”

    you are seriously deluded. you’re grasp on reality is questionable at best.

    • karol 1.1

      Do you really think focusing on what suits home owners and private landlords is going to do anything to move towards more affordable housing or to take the heat out of the destructive inflationary house buying market?

      • TightyRighty 1.1.1

        it’s not about what suits home owners and private landlords. It’s about what suits the housing market as whole. you are effectively saying the quasi-ownership of these houses, with all the maintenance bills footed by the government, should be enshrined in their rights, and anyone else who may need a house, privately or through public channels can go and get stuffed. Or go an complain to the government to stick there hand even deeper into the public pocket to help out. and it’s not the just the cost of the house the government is going to rape from the poor old taxpayer, it’s the maintenance and depreciation too.

        this isn’t a tenant vs landlord situation. it’s a macro supply and demand model. christ, tenure on state funded housing. that is the least fair and progressive policy i’ve ever come across. it’ll distort the housing market even further. i mean why on earth should there be any fluidity or recognition of changing circumstances? #sarc #duncepolicy

        • Lanthanide 1.1.1.1

          Broadly agree, TR.

          With the limited supply of state houses we have, it doesn’t seem right to lock them up for life for people who aren’t really deserving.

          Ultimately the real solution is more state housing. But since we aren’t likely to get that from any government inside the next decade, this is a pragmatic change.

          • TightyRighty 1.1.1.1.1

            the answer is not more state housing. It’s better quality housing stock amongst the lower income areas. a mix of private and public provision will assist in this. it will enable the ebb and flow of people as when different circumstances require different solutions.

    • shorts 1.2

      in answer to your questions Tighty – yes

      in so much as I’m part of the electorate and also not in need of such assistance personally

      • TightyRighty 1.2.1

        so you think, regardless of circumstances, that just because a tenant has lived in a state house for a certain period of time they are welcome to it forever.

      • TightyRighty 1.2.2

        so you think, regardless of circumstances, that just because a tenant has lived in a state house for a certain period of time they are welcome to it forever.

    • bad12 1.3

      My view of your comment is that it is an unwarranted attack of abuse on a Post Author for which you should be given the kick off of this site….

      • Tiger Mountain 1.3.1

        +1 bad12, what monumental fuckwittery and scapegoating nastiness from ’Righty, and unless he is a qualified medical doctor in which case he is breaking confidentiality anyway, should withdraw the “grasp on reality” bs.

        State house tenure is a major that Labour needs to be clear about. State house for life is a good thing and even better if 21st century add ons like agreed transferability for holidays and education could be in the mix. More state housing is needed not more tax payer subsidies to all the hangers on in the private sector.

      • TightyRighty 1.3.2

        spare me. listened to enough of your diatribes than make little, if any, sense for long enough. You don’t like what I’ve said as it points out the inherent flaws in your “major” policy. the real electorate won’t like it, it’s unfair, it discriminates against pretty much everyone and it will further distort the housing market.

        You might feel good when you talk such monumental rubbish, but you and others who espouse this, and all the other slipshod promises, always turn a blind eye to the foreseeable consequences. just to show you “care”. progressive guilt at it’s most destructive.

        • s y d 1.3.2.1

          I’m with TR on the issue of tenure. It isn’t (or shouldn’t) really be the issue.
          There is no way that a state house should be for life unless your circumstances are such that you warrant it.
          I cannot see how anyone can support the position that once you get into a state house you can have it (or another one) forever and a day. Thats like saying if you’ve ever been on the dole then you can expect to paid for the rest of your life, regardless of whether you find work or not.

          The issue is that we now effectively have a voucher system for state funded housing, with all that this example entails.

    • karol 1.4

      Let me tell you of a few realities. As stated in one of the articles I linked to in my post:

      Housing New Zealand tenants previously had security of tenure no matter what they earned, although their rent was altered if their income increased.

      So HNZ has always been able to adjust the tenants income according to the tenants changing circumstances, thus providing an increase in money that HNZ has to maintain their housing stock.

      It is a human right for people to have security of tenure in any housing, and to have legal protections against forced evictions.

      Over the last year or two, the government has been trying to forceably evict tenants from their statE houses. this is not because they earn too much, but because developers want access to the land in that particular area.

      The idea that a whole load of state house tenants go from rags to riches is a beat up. Most don’t increase their earnings but a huge amount.

      Moving most of the housing into a situation of market rents, contributes to the inflation of housing costs. state housing for those on low incomes takes the heat out of the market.

      Adequate supply of affordable housing will sort out a lot of the problems of of the inability of first home buyers to buy their houses, as well as the abuse of taxpayer funding. Using tax payer funds to help pay private landlords or social housing providers is an abuse of taxpayers’ money.

      Landbanking and people sitting on higher priced properties is adding to the affordability problem.

      A strengthened state housing sector will help take the heat out of the overly competitive market system of private provisions.

      Safe, affordable and secure housing is a right for all, and shouldn’t be skewed by an overly competitive system.

      • Olwyn 1.4.1

        Well said Karol! Both in your original post and in this reply. I agree that security of tenure is a human right, and one that New Zealand is shamefully refusing to meet. Without security of tenure there is no basis for building a stable life.

        • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 1.4.1.1

          It is a human right for people to have security of tenure in any housing, and to have legal protections against forced evictions.

          Do we all have this right? If I stop paying my mortgage, can I tell the bank to stop fucking with my rights?

          • Olwyn 1.4.1.1.1

            There are rights that come with obligations, but that doesn’t mean they are not rights. “Security of tenure” assumes conditions, like the payment of affordable rent, that one can reasonably meet, and subjection to obligations on both sides.

      • TightyRighty 1.4.2

        “Over the last year or two, the government has been trying to forceably evict tenants from their statE houses. this is not because they earn too much, but because developers want access to the land in that particular area.” prove it

        “Moving most of the housing into a situation of market rents, contributes to the inflation of housing costs. state housing for those on low incomes takes the heat out of the market.” not true. An increase in supply forces rents down. you’ve got the wrong curve. it also acts as an incentive for private landlords to keep their stock in top condition to maintain their rents

        “Adequate supply of affordable housing will sort out a lot of the problems of of the inability of first home buyers to buy their houses, as well as the abuse of taxpayer funding. Using tax payer funds to help pay private landlords or social housing providers is an abuse of taxpayers’ money.” your opinion only. what is an actual abuse of taxpayers money is allowing state house tenants tenure regardless of income or circumstances.

        “A strengthened state housing sector will help take the heat out of the overly competitive market system of private provisions.” Err no. this is so incorrect as to be laughable. it will actually drive demand up for housing as the government will then be either a) forceable acquiring properties, accelerating the rental rate driving up rents and or property prices or b) taking builders away from building private houses, thereby driving up their cost, to build state housing, driving up the costs of state housing and therefore the price along the demand for labour curve.

        “The idea that a whole load of state house tenants go from rags to riches is a beat up. Most don’t increase their earnings but a huge amount.” good on them if they do though! what about when they’ve had ten kids, but then they’ve all left home to go live elsewhere and pay rent from a J O B? i know the right wing meme is that bennies are bennies for life and 3+ generations pile in to a house to maximise income while minimising cost / effort, smart capitalist behaviour that. However, the left always tell us this isn’t the case. So what happens when a 3/4 bedroom home suddenly only has a single mum whose kids have left / penisoner couple living in it? should it not then be freed up for a proper family? how does tenure work in those situations? you are yet to adequately explain that one

        the icing on the twaddle cake
        “Safe, affordable and secure housing is a right for all, and shouldn’t be skewed by an overly competitive system.” no one has been denied their right to safe affordable housing, and how does a system become overly competitive? particularly as it’s only in a few areas that the price is so ramped up it’s lifting the average. If you want to live affordably, you can move to a less “desirable” (real estate agent jargon meaning) area. kingsland and sandringham rents are cheaper than grey lynn / ponsonby and etc.

        all your other points are rubbish too. i just picked the worst offenders to rebut.

      • Francis 1.4.3

        Of course, even if by some chance someone living in a state-owned house ended up earning $100,000 per year, the rent would still be fixed at 1/3 of their income (or is it higher than that? I can’t remember…). So they would be paying $33,000 per year for renting, which I’d assume is at least market rates (though I don’t live in Auckland, and I know you guys have really crazy prices there).

        For that reason, State Housing works much like a proportional tax system rather than as a benefit. People are charged what they can afford to pay, rather than the fixed market rate which charges everyone equally (and therefore leaves out those who cannot afford them).

        I really think people (including the political parties of both sides) need to get it out of their heads that state housing is a “safety net” for those who are too poor to afford “market” rents, but rather as a publicly-run alternative to the private system. If someone who’s living in a state house doesn’t want to leave, but is earning $100,000 per year, then why should they be kicked out? The $33,000 per year that they’re paying for it is more than what those earning less would be paying, and it will provide the state house program more to cover maintenance and new building. In the long term, that means the government will be able to afford to build (and maintain) even more state houses.

  2. just saying 2

    + a gazillion, Karol.

    If Cunliffe can announce a national (but still profit-driven) insurance company to keep down premiums for those who can afford insurance, and promote the existing policy of housing subsidies for the children of the middle class, he can provide some leadership on our state housing crisis.

    Otherwise we might have to conclude that he’s just another soc/dem pretender representing the interests his own tribe of the comfortably middle-class, and chucking the poor under the bus.
    (In other words business as usual for Labour)

  3. Will@Welly 3

    Virtually everything this Government is doing is an extension of the philosophies and practices of the Bolger/Richardson administration of the early 1990’s, but taken to it’s logical – extreme – conclusions.
    State housing was never ever about “nice to haves”, it was about providing those who could not afford reasonable housing accommodation that was safe, sound, and affordable. Read the histories of the early Labour leaders and other socialists, housing pre-WWII was pretty diabolical – slum housing – and that’s what they wanted to prevent.
    Labour had 9 years in power to redress those reforms and did sweet F.A. – why ? Too many hangers on from the Douglas era, who actually agreed with those policies. Therein lies the problem. I used to laugh at the in-fighting that occurred with Labour in the U.K. – too busy fighting amongst each other to address the real problems; that I now understand.
    Labour still has too many in Parliament hanging on, it needs a clean out, it is now full of “nice middle class people” who haven’t worked at the coal face, and as we’ve seen, prefer social engineering to real policies that get people jobs, houses, a decent education, and one where people feel fully engaged with society.
    Not so long ago, Labour stalwarts would have been manning the picket lines regarding state housing, now they’re too embarrassed. Sold out by a party that simply doesn’t care.

  4. bad12 4

    i have posted so many comments on the States housing stock over an 18 month period that i do find myself somewhat jaded and such a fatigue is only exacerbated by what i have come to term the ‘vows of silence’ on the issue of State housing provision from within Labour,

    IF the State had of kept to the building of State Houses which peaked in number at 75,000 during the Norman Kirk lead Labour Government while our population ‘exploded’ from 3.3 million souls to 4.4 million there would not be in my opinion the current crisis of ‘home ownership affordability’ currently being experienced in Auckland,

    There are 4 types of home-buyer in Auckland currently fueling the house price over inflation of property prices (a) the speculator buying and selling in short term money making ventures,(b)the upwardly mobile middle class looking for ‘better’ housing,(c) the first home buyers currently being disadvantaged by the LVR’s, and (d), those buying property for the singular purpose of providing rental accomodation being aided by ‘tax breaks’ and Government subsidy in the form of the Accommodation Supplement,

    The current National Government policy toward State Housing of knocking over or removing bulk lots of the States Housing and only replacing a third of this housing are in fact fueling the fires of house price over-inflation by simply providing more tenants for those wishing to ‘invest’ in rental housing,

    And like the Post Author so succinctly put it, on the issue of State Housing provision Labour is???…

    • Herodotus 4.1

      Your reasons for property inflation are misplaced as you neglect to include:
      Cheep money and immigration
      http://www.globalpropertyguide.com/Pacific/New-Zealand/Price-History
      http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/newseventsculture/OurAuckland/News/Pages/aucklandsstrongpopulationgrowthcontinues.aspx
      With the reference to cheep money there is also the advantage of leveraged debt having a far greater return with the gains than to have money in the bank, earning 4% less tax. Especially as the banks are forecasting 6% growth in property valuations over the next year, this after 17% increase in ak property last year, but just wait to see the hardship to those who have extended themselves by entering the market when interest rates rise., when this happens perhaps those 1st timers may be thankful that the lvr had placed a barrier from buying.
      http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/your-property/9287358/NZ-vulnerable-to-fall-in-house-prices

      • bad12 4.1.1

        What i am doing is pointing to the various groups of house buyers in the Auckland area and connecting such groups of buyers into the whole picture vis a vis the deliberate ongoing shortage of State House building, pointing out that there would not have been such house price over-inflation had the State continued to build state housing as the population increased from 3.3 million to 4.4 million(which makes your point about immigration spurious),

        If you bothered to read the Post at all you should have ascertained that it’s substance is concerning the lack of State Housing and not about purchasing of houses and my reason for including the information as i have above is to point out that as LVR’s do the continual lowering of the number of State Houses by removal and demolition is with a political intent of ‘favoring’ the ‘investor class’ of house buyer especially in the city of Auckland…

        • bad12 4.1.1.1

          As a PS to this comment figures from i believe the Treasury,(sorry i havn’t got a link),show that in the past 20 years 200,000 former ‘homes’ have made the transition from ‘homes’ to become privately owned rental property at the same time as the number of State owned rental housing has been markedly reduced by several thousand,(with more being sold off daily), and while the population has increased by 1 million,

          i also do not have a demographic for where these former homes are located but would suggest that the bulk are likely to be in Auckland,

          What has occurred,(i would suggest deliberately),is a political decision has been made 20 years ago,(an unspoken of agreement between National and Labour some might add), that State housing was to be a thing of the past,

          Thus the first step to rampant house price over-inflation was taken creating a ‘demand’ for rental housing, and thus that competition began in earnest between the various categories of house buyers i have pointed to above to secure property some vying to secure a home, some vying to secure a ‘rental investment’,others simply speculating that the demand would continue buying property for quick financial reward,

          Addressing the LVR’s as a means of slowing the over inflation in house prices would tell us that while depressing demand from first home buyers LVR’s simply add fuel to the fire of those who seek to purchase ‘investment property’ as the first home buyer remains a ‘renter’ thus creating even more demand for ‘rentals’…

          • s y d 4.1.1.1.1

            if you want high rents you need the homeless
            if you want low wages you need the unemployed
            if you want…

    • Ad 4.2

      Probably time for Phil Twyford to do a Guest Post.

      Housing New Zealand should be solely directed to focus on providing housing for those who need it.

      The whole commercial focus should be removed from Housing NZ. Their sole directive should be responding to social need.

      Instead the Special Housing Areas and other revelopment opportuinities like Waterfront Auckland and Tamaki Transformation Project should be separated off into companies that concentrate on urban renewal.

    • TightyRighty 4.3

      what about older people, empty nesters, won’t move on from their 3-4 bedroom family home to a smaller unit or house. they don’t have to shift hoods, just get something more fitting for their requirements.

      your “four” classes of buyer are motivated by spite and envy. you must be an absolute joy to talk to socially.

      • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 4.3.1

        Housing New Zealand should be solely directed to focus on providing housing for those who need it.

        Which is what removing the arbitrary right of tenure is about.

      • bad12 4.3.2

        You obviously don’t know the first thing about State Houses, myself i have little qualm about older state House tenants moving into housing that better suits their needs so as to free up larger homes for bigger families,

        However the absolute BULLSHIT within your constant whine is the FACT that there are not the numbers of smaller houses for them to move into and this particular Government has no great plans to build them,

        Which just makes you full of shit as usual…

    • TightyRighty 4.4

      well, you are wrong. being endlessly ignored because you are endlessly wrong will certainly lead to fatigue and a feeling of being jaded with the issue.

      you can’t argue that the removal of state housing stock increases house prices, while demanding tenure and claiming that it has no effect. in effect, they are the same thing.

      You’ve got no facts about your assertion that the ex state house stock then became privately owned investment stock for rental. And even if you are right, whats the difference? state owned and exclusive to a family / individual for life or privately owned and able to be rented dependent on shifts etc. they are both rental properties.

      you are so stupid it hurts.

      • bad12 4.4.1

        i would bother to debate the issue with you but your whole trail of comments today is one of abuse and basic ‘you thunk it therefor it is’ simpering,

        What i have argued is that the State first stopped building State Houses as the population began it’s rise from 3.3 million to 4.4 million and has since reduced the number of State Houses from it’s peak of 75,000 homes to 65,000, within those numbers area rising number of people needing State Housing and as there are few available this has created an artificial demand for private rentals which in turn has created price over inflation because of the relative demands of those seeking to own property as a home and those seeking to own rental property to cash in on the demand,

        By the way, by the sound of you, you should get the shrinks who manage your condition to up the meds, insanity of your sort obviously has no cure but with the right little white pills it is managable…

        • Tiger Mountain 4.4.1.1

          It has been quite disturbing to read ’Righty’s rantings today. This guys hatred and anger is palpable.

          You are correct bad12, the distortion in the housing market has in large part been caused by governments actively decreasing existing properties not just flatlining new builds of the housing stock. Not to mention previously charging market (greedy landlord) rates for state houses which sent a whole generation to garages, caravan parks and rural poverty.

          • TightyRighty 4.4.1.1.1

            decreasing properties? have they demolished them? have they been deemed uninhabitable?

            • bad12 4.4.1.1.1.1

              Yeah we realize tighty righty that the meds keep you off the planet most of the time, the Glen Innes housing stock, removed and/or demolished by the hundreds with the land flicked off to the private sector and the promise to replace the hundreds of HousingNZ homes with a mere handfull,

              In Lower Hutt, Prorirua and Napier whole streets bulldozed of their State housing NO replacements promised nor intended the land flicked off to the private sector,

              i would suggest you open your fucking eyes but it would be a waste of breath as your obviously too far gone…

              • TightyRighty

                Proriua is quite a demeaning nickname for porirua used around wellington. it snidely refers to the amount of professional crims and prostitutes reputed to live there. of course you wouldn’t be above calling it that. sheesh

                • bad12

                  Actually tighty righty i was born there and lived there for at least half my life, the misspelling of the name was a genuine spelling mistake that i didn’t pick up on the edit,

                  Nice to know tho what you meds restricted ‘wingnuts’ call my old home town tho…

        • TightyRighty 4.4.1.2

          and tenure is supposed to help with this?

  5. Tom Gould 5

    Poor old Tracy can’t seem to get a foot in the door. She has tried so hard. But they just won’t have her. I guess she is more use outside the tent?

  6. Rogue Trooper 6

    Christchurch Housing: “worst it’s been” …”same as it ever was…same as it… ev…er… was”.

  7. Rogue Trooper 7

    oops,
    Christchurch Housing : “worst it’s ever been” …”same as it ever was…same…as…it…ev…er…was!”
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/christchurch-earthquake/news/article.cfm?c_id=1502981&objectid=11163599

    • s y d 7.1

      Nick Smith, what a guy..there was no “silver bullet”, “people always want more “,”Rents are still significantly less to what they are in Auckland,”

      you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack..indeed

  8. taranaki@gmail.com 8

    I can’t in all honesty support the few lucky duckies who win the state house lottery. Why should such a small number of people have their lifestyle so massively subsidised when housing is a “livable right” as Karol posits?

    Successive Labour and National Governments agree that state housing isn’t the answer to this “livable right” – Karol’s urge to preserve this right for a privileged chosen few just seems abhorrent and the antithesis of the egalitarian values which constructed the state housing stock in the first place.

    If housing is a “livable right” then fighting for a few state houses is like complaining about a half cup of water added to the ocean. That horse bolted decades ago – to fight for the preservation of this rare privilege now is just counterproductive.

    • karol 8.1

      This is rather convoluted logic, taranaki.

      Because the Nats & Labour have been whittling away the state housing provisions, doesn’t mean it was the right thing to do.

      It’s a strange “privilege” that the least well off are being given, while increasingly their position is becoming insecure and badly managed.

      Surely the answer to only a few being given state housing while others live in garages etc, is to extend the “privilege” to more people, not remove it from all..

      • taranaki 8.1.1

        By your own admission a state house is a rare privilege that we only extend to a small percentage of the people with very high housing needs.

        Your defence of “state house for life” for comparatively wealthier people who no longer meet the criteria for need, while families are forced to live in garages simply doesn’t stack up. As you your self say “Surely the answer to only a few being given state housing while others live in garages etc, is to extend the “privilege” to more people, not remove it from all.”

        You’ve premised your argument on a fantasy of restoring state house numbers. Great idea – you wont hear any issue of that from me that we need more – a whole lot more. But by acting as though this worthy goal is fait acccompli you’ve completely disconnected your political values from the reality that we don’t have these houses, not now, not next year, and likely not next decade.

        So, until this fantasy housing stock is available – why can’t we give housing to those in genuine need? As opposed to the leaving this precious resource to be occupied by a lucky privileged few who enjoy lifetime tenure by historical accident.

        • bad12 8.1.1.1

          What a grand piece of defeatism that is Taranaki, in you game of ‘musical houses’ we should kick the elderly out into what, tents, rack-renting ‘holiday parks’ or perhaps who gives a fuck so as to free up their houses for families,

          You expound the same fallacy as tighty righty that the elderly should happily vacate their over sized HousingNZ properties for smaller ones when the known fact is that there are no smaller ones available and this Government has no intention of building any,

          Your view is that of the ‘enabler’ He or She who allows the Government of whatever hue to abdicate it’s responsibilities surrounding social housing,

          i would suggest that you actually ‘believe un-Housing Minister Nick Smith when He says the intention of the recently passed Legislation was to free up such mismatched housing where this government will evict 4000 of it’s tenants,

          Nick Smith has no intention of retaining those 4000 State Houses in the Government portfolio they are earmarked for sale into the private sector,

          Here’s a housing equation from Nick Smith, Hamilton 120 something urgent housing cases, Smith announces the sell off into the private sector of 120 Hamilton State Houses…

    • Rogue Trooper 8.2

      I like your style though taranaki@home.

    • millsy 8.3

      SO you would have state housing tenants kicked out on the street, and have them pay 70% of their income to a private landlord?

  9. chris73 9

    Good, until more housing stock is built this is the best solution

  10. Molly 10

    Attended a Unitary Plan workshop on Monday, and disappointed but not surprised to learn that the 12 SHA’s released with such fanfare by National and Auckland Council, are only the first of many such “tranches” that will be announced. The next tranche announcement due before the end of the year.

    Given that SHA’s can be a response to a direct request from landowners (such as the 1000 house area in Takanini on very unstable ground), this makes even more of a mockery of the whole well planned design for a livable Auckland.

  11. greywarbler 11

    It’s not new to pepper pot state housing amongst private dwellings. We had a good system, which could have been tightened up somewhat, but to go to annual reviews is disgraceful. It just confirms to me that NZs don’t take housing and its importance to people seriously.

    In 1990 when National was putting the rents up to market level in stages, the local religious ministers and various social services people were not traumatised as caring, responsible people should have been. They were hardly concerned. There was a brief show but it soon went away. Yet people haven’t been able to receive benefits if they haven’t been able to provide a home address. Isn’t that contradictory.

    The social community studies have shown how hard it is on people, and especially families with school children to be pushed from pillar to post particularly with their schooling where the children have to find acceptance over and over again as they move. Yet the NACTs ramble on about their concern about education. It’s concern about stats that they want to put up against other OECD countries stats, it’s not the fate of these potentially great NZs who can’t get a start in life.

  12. Murray Olsen 12

    We need more state houses urgently. I don’t care if the odd person has a bedroom they don’t use. How many people have all sorts of space they don’t use, and have to leave 2 of their cars in the garage every time they go out, because they got rich off property speculation or government handouts to private landlords? How many multimillionaires made their wealth because the government sold them some land near Wanaka which was then fortuitously rezoned for subdivision? Why does someone who’s had enough capital to start out and become a successful parasite think they’re the backbone of the nation? They contribute nothing except to push house prices further out of reach of the majority. I’m not in the least bit interested in their moaning. Labour, Greens, Mana, build more state houses. I know that in Labour’s case this would need about half of their MPs to be kicked out of the party first, but so many lie down to sleep and dream of Roger, Ayn, and Milton that the sooner they’re gone the better.

  13. bad12 13

    ”Cost rises hit families”, so says today’s Herald while highlighting the plight of one working Auckland family with 3 children forced to move in with friends while they wait to see what chances they have of having HousingNZ accept their application for housing,

    Right there within that article in the online version of the Herald is the tip of the housing ice-berg as the house price over inflation spiral forces rents in the private market out of reach of even the low waged working families,

    These people aren’t ‘bludgers’, simply a normal New Zealand family trying to do the best they can for their 3 kids,

    The tip of the ice-berg??? last we we seen the Auckland ‘holiday park’ where the tenants,mostly beneficiaries, are rack rented in abysmal housing conditions by a landlord said to be sucking up 32 thousand a week directly from the taxpayer via His beneficiary tenants,

    Previously i have spent many a comment pointing out Mene Mene another hard working Kiwi who’s wages and hours of work confine Him,Wife and 3 children to 1 room in a less than suitable Auckland City boarding house,

    And on it goes,for every family or individual housed in what are best described as ‘unsuitable conditions’ and more appropriately described when considering what we as Kiwis have as expectations of suitable housing as FUCKING SLUM CONDITIONS, there are 100’s more crammed into garages,’holiday parks’ or doubling up with relatives or friends if they are so lucky to have any with a spare room,

    We know where Paula Bennett is on this issue, She is trying to make ‘political hay’ out of the misery inherent in having 300 Kiwi’s trapped in the rack renting ‘holiday park’ decrying the landlords receipt of 32 grand a week of taxpayers money for running this slum,

    We know where Nick Smith, the Minister of Housing is on this issue, he is busy making ‘political hay’ over grandiose announcements of building 30 State houses where there once were 100, He is making grandiose statements about selling off 100’s of State Houses in the provinces claiming non-one wants them,He is busy making grandiose statements about kicking out 4000 of the States tenants because their accommodation doesn’t match the size of their family,

    What He isn’t making grandiose statements and political hay out of is the fact that any number of those He plans on giving the kick will not be able to find affordable accommodation, nor is He publicly broadcasting the fact that He and His Government plan to sell off most of the 4000 houses He plans to give the tenants the kick from, He is even less vocal that by the time He has finished re-arranging the States housing stock the numbers will be down to 60,000,

    And to finish, i have a question, where is Labour on the issue of a serious State House building program…

    • karol 13.1

      Well said, bad! This is the article you are referring to. Thanks for the ehadsup.

      A Statistics New Zealand survey shows average weekly household spending has increased by more than $90 over the past three years, to $1111.

      That’s been driven by significant increases in the cost of food, transport, housing and household utilities such as gas and electricity.

      Aucklanders are spending the most, an average of $1253 a week, and spend significantly more on housing, transport and food than residents elsewhere in the country.

      The Household Economic Survey showed housing costs and utilities were the biggest household costs at $272, making up about a quarter of household bills on average.

      Food costs made up one-fifth of expenses, costing $192 a week on average, up from $177 three years ago.

      Darryl Evans, CEO of the Mangere Budgeting Service, said clients were spending a large portion on rent, with very little left for food.

      About three-quarters of clients in private rentals were paying 60 to 65 per cent of their income on housing.

      More at the link.

  14. bad12 14

    The Green Party through it’s Christchurch East candidate are starting to talk of creating villages of pre-built studio units for Christchurch,

    In terms of money such an idea might be applicable for the creation of single person accommodation in any area of high need, (although i can hear the ‘Wing-nuts’ screech of trailer-trash as i type),

    There are a number of companies in New Zealand that produce such ‘housing’ which is simply trucked to a pre-prepared site and connected to services and these are not restricted to simple studio’s as bedrooms can be added to them,

    For single people such pre-built accommodation or even the high quality fifth wheel trailer accommodation now available might have to be the housing of the future when considering that such ‘villages’ could be sited on land the government already owns this would result in housing for around 100,000 a unit,

    Being ‘old style’ i am not entirely enamored with such an idea,but, am enough of a realist to know that with a Government debt of somewhere in the realm of 70-80 billion dollars with a crisis of affordable rental accommodation this ‘solution’ may provide the only means of providing a mass of housing in the shortest amount of time,

    Given that financial mess which Slippery’s National government are deliberately fixing to leave as the welcome to the next Government the only means of providing a serious ‘normal’ build of a mass of State housing would be for the Government to simply ‘print’ the monetary requirement,

    i would have thought David Cunliffe would have been well up to speed on how the first State Housing was produced seeing as He had the Bloke that done it’s picture hanging on His wall all that time,

    Perhaps that was just window dressing…

  15. One Anonymous Knucklehead 15

    Jane Fonda on the news today,
    convinced the Liberals it’s ok,
    So let’s get dressed and dance away the night.
    While they, kill kill kill kill, kill the poor…

    Are we going to let the National Party lower New Zealand to its level? Smash market fundamentalism. Destroy it utterly. Stop tinkering around the edges and adopt best practice.

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