Today is Housing Crisis Day of Action with a march on parliament in Wellington (see Facebook page). The government’s response is “cautious” as it doesn’t want to interfer too much in the housing market. It is putting too much emphasis on encouraging the building of housing for the home buying and private rental market. It aims to give taxpayer money to construction businesses, so they can profit from the desperation of low income people to find somewhere safe and secure to live.
The government’s plan to build low cost housing on the fringes of cities like Auckland, is just adding the costs for low income people; costs of time and money for traveling to work and elsewhere. It also aims to speed up the council processing of new housing subdivisions and construction – more “cutting red tape” with possible changes to the Resource Management Act. And we all know where that leads. They are also planning to open some inner city “brownfields” land (derelict industrial land) for housing.
So they want to keep the prime land for specluators and the wealthy, and the less desirable land for low income people. People are being removed from state houses located in prime real estate areas, to make way for private developers. This has been happening in Glen Innes, where Hone Harawira and John Minto have been arrested on protests. The Mana Party calls this approach to housing, “ethnic cleansing.”
The only way create more affordable housing is to build more state housing. The Housing Day of Action Group states on Facebook that the protest is to:
demand an end to all evictions and sale of state houses; for HNZ to let all vacant state houses to families in crisis; a withdrawal of the draconian requirements to get a state house; a reopening of all HNZ offices and the construction of 20,000 new state homes.
The protest will be at 12 Noon today, Civic Square, Wellington.
Updates: John Banks heckled by protesters. Banks had gone onto parliament steps to sign an anti-shark finning petition. Housing Day of Action protesters were also there and apparently focused on his 1996 anti-abortion comments.
When the remaining housing protesters saw Banks they turned their attention to him, yelling: ”Shame on you, John Banks. You’re a lair, you’re a coward.” …
”Not John Banks and not the state, women must control their fate,” the women chanted.
In the General Debate in the House today, Annette King gave a very powerful speech, largely focused on the housing crisis and the overnment’s poor response. Craig Foss, in his speech denied that there was either manufacturing crisis or a housing crisis. He said there were plenty of state houses available. Andrew Little gave a really good speech about the need for more affordable housing: for renters and buyers. He said that the governmentMP’s are spending all their time talking about Labour, and anything other than the country’s crises, because they have no plan to improve things.