The National led government is continuing its war on the poor, with the on-going dismantling of state housing. Glen Innes has been the public face of the real agenda – to acquire prime real estate for the private market. At the same time state house tenants, like all those on low incomes are relegated to the struggling margins. In Auckland particularly, the relatively well off have most access to the central city and its resources. Those on low income need to wrestle with transport poverty amongs other things.
Metro Magazine published an extraordinary photographic and video record last month of the war zone in Glen Innes: GI Blues: Inside the Glen Innes state house war zone.
When architect John Haydn began his epic Auckland photography project, he was searching for visible signs of the forces that shape the city. Or, as he puts it: “How can so few people fuck up so much beautiful land?” Haydn amassed a vast collection of photos, which he categorised in various ways. He remained none the wiser.
In August 2012, he caught a break — an article about architect friend Fleur Palmer being pilloried for trucking state houses from Glen Innes for homeless families in Kaitaia. Despite Palmer’s good intentions on behalf of He Korowai Trust, the ousted state house tenants and those seeing their neighbourhood decimated were not impressed. “What she is doing is morally repugnant. It’s taking from the poor to give to the poor,” said one protester.
Haydn was shocked by what he saw in GI: “It was site after site of desolation.” It reminded him of a visit to Bosnia just before the Kosovo war: “These mini war zones — that’s what it felt like.”
Treading the line between artist and activist, Haydn videoed house removals and their accompanying protests and began engaging with the Tamaki Housing Group. He photographed each address before and after the house had been removed, until the damage was cleaned up and grassed over. “It’s a violent thing and the people are being completely disregarded while it’s happening. It’s the disrespect which is astonishing.”
Here is a small selection of the images:
More images and a video at the Metro Magazine link, and the March issue of Metro.
Tonight there is a protest at Glen Innes (Tamaki Housing Group Facebook page).
PROTEST MARCH TO DEFEND GLEN INNES & TO END THE 90 DAY EVICTION NOTICE ONCE FOR ALL STATE HOUSING TENANTS! TO “REPEAL SOCIAL HOUSING” & “HOUSING RESTRUCTERING TENANCY MATTERS ACT.”
THURSDAY 6 MARCH
STARTING FROM 16 TANIWHA STREET GLEN INNES!