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Housing crisis day of action today

Written By: - Date published: 8:30 am, November 7th, 2012 - 17 comments
Categories: activism, class war, housing, mana, Public Private Partnerships - Tags:

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.

17 comments on “Housing crisis day of action today”

  1. xtasy 1

    Karol –

    I bet you that this will be resulting in a “turnout” like the ‘Day of Action’ by beneficiary advocates and supporters, who bothered to come out to protest against the draconian welfare reforms on 05 October.

    Maybe a few dozen, maybe a hundred or so, not more are likely to bother – or be able to attend (due to tight financial pressures not allowing travel).

    Sorry to be so negative, but the scene is dominated by a government supporting developers and speculating home owners, who rather want to see Housing NZ move their tenants to “cheaper” ghettoes, so their street looks all “nice” and tidy, so that values of their homes will go up, or at least stay where they are.

    Even the ones planning an exit off the sinking ship called Aotearoa-NZ will rather have that, so they can sell their home for a good price to new migrants or investors, enabling them to bring sufficient cash with them to start a new life in Queensland, West Australia, South Australia or NSW or Victoria.

    The good old “granny” Herald seems to put any housing-, rent- and related articles under the “business” heading, so they go with the trend to view it all mainly from an “investor’s perspective”.

    NZ is divided, the “middle class” that owns homes may be unhappy if they face high prices to buy, but as long as interest rates are low, as long as they have a job, as long as they can let tenants and flatmates pay their mortgages, they do not give a damn about the ones at the bottom, who now even get shifted out of existing Housing NZ homes and put into little boxes stacked on top of each other, or close to each other, in areas like East Tamaki or others.

    The first link to some of interesting stories (see below) shows us what is going on, and what it is all about:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10845613

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10845630

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10839987

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10845615

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10845394

    Sadly most NZers have little time for Housing NZ tenants, and I ask, where are Labour’s alternative plans, as it is easy to criticise, but poor to slam the government and not deliver at least some draft plan. Now Annette King, there is a challenge, perhaps!?

    Housing and construction in NZ: A total sick joke for much over the last one to two decades! Tens of thousands of leaky homes rotting away on a large scale, what a bloody waste. So after selling F+P to Haier, perhaps start selling the universities next, to get more “cash” to fill the holes???

    • karol 1.1

      xtasy, I agree with you that the focus of NZ Herald of housing as a business issues.  It’s really annoying.
       
      Well, I always live in hope as many people as can, make it to today’s demo.  There’s supposed to be people traveling to Wellington from all over NZ for it.  It’s in the lunch hour, so I hope a few Wellingtonians make it to the protest as well.
       
      I will also be looking for the response of the media and politicians.  Nine-to-Noon is doing an interview with a housing activist right now – a response to the planned protests. So the scope of a “Day of Action” is not just getting numbers out on the streets – but also raising awareness of the issues in a range of ways.

    • just saying 1.2

      Xtasy,
      I understand your feelings of demoralisation and bitterness. Please be careful not to take it out, even inadvertently, on those who have a courage, energy, and resources to protest.

      If there is no resistance there is no hope for things to get better for those suffering the most, and a guarantee that the rate which things get worse is accelerated.

      • xtasy 1.2.1

        just saying: I admit, I put a bit of hidden cynicism into my comment, but it is due to many repeated experiences over recent years, seeing the “protest scene” decline and become a residual phenomenon of the now rather aged hard core, who seem to have very few younger “recruits”.

        When people see the same people, with the same banners, the same slogans, the same leaflets, the same words, the same messages, the same ineffective efforts and sadly also too poor communication and organistion, when you see them hold pickets, protest meetings, sit ins, or whatever, I fear you will get what you ask for: Disinterest, lack of connectivity, lack of understanding, lack of appreciation and so on.

        Also I have witnessed a growing level of resignation (not surprising with many “opposition” MPs too busy feathering their own nests and careers than take real, decisive action), of disinterest, of also cowardliness and preferred isolation, from so many individuals affected.

        Hone does appeal to some, so may some of the Greens and the odd vocal Labour activist, but in general, there is apparently NO trust, NO faith, NO motivation, NO hope and a total alienation and even indifference, as too many are just too brainwashed to even bother, and rather look at fighting their own battles for survival, as they have no more sense of the meaning of unity.

        It is just the same like the loss of union membership that was evident over so many years. People do not want to bite the hand that feeds them, so by being passive and submissive, they may “survive”, but they also hand over power and make themselves even more dependent.

        So I feel a need to SHOCK people out of their apathy and disinterest. Maybe we need massive homelessness, unemployment reaching 10 or more per-cent, so people will bloody wake up. I cannot see it happen now, and Labour is NOT helping.

    • fatty 1.3

      “The good old “granny” Herald seems to put any housing-, rent- and related articles under the “business” heading, so they go with the trend to view it all mainly from an “investor’s perspective”.”

      true…that’s the way housing is viewed in NZ at the moment. Its seen as an economic issue for the individual, not an issue of wellbeing for society.

      “and I ask, where are Labour’s alternative plans”

      true again…if we are being honest this behaviour from National is not surprising, but the real problem is a lack of opposition. Karol points out Mana’s dedication to the issue, but they are just painted as crazy radicals who don’t understand economics.
      All most people want is a simple warm cheap place to live…that is all. Its a human right, and it should be available to all Kiwis, but its not. We are going backwards.

    • insider 1.4

      Looks like about 20 people. Almost more people in the welcoming party.

      • karol 1.4.1

        Some battles are worth fighting, how ever many turn up.  The MSM is doing its best to ignore it, as it doesn’t like to give such campaigns a positive face – see fatty’s comment above.
         
        The organsiers didn’t expect many more than 100 – weekday as well.  They are resenting a petition with about 1000 signatures.  RNZ is about the only MSM actually covering it.  Their regular news updates have reported about 70 people on the march – so probably closer to 100 then.
         
        Of course, our MSM is much more interested in, and distracted by the US elections – they show they don’t care that much about the interests of ordinary Kiwis, especially ones on low incomes.

        • Mickey Mouse 1.4.1.1

          “Of course, our MSM is much more interested in, and distracted by the US elections ”

          Then why organise the protest for this day? Dumb

          • karol 1.4.1.1.1

            I don’t know why they organised it for today.  It may be timing: aiming for a Members’ Day.  There may be a limited number of these days before the Xmas break.

    • Fisiani 1.5

      70 people is hardly a crowd

  2. AwakeWhileSleeping 2

    There is certainly a housing crisis, but this is not the way to solve it.

    Steve Keen suggested a debt jubilee but instead of giving money to banks he proposed paying a sum of money to each individual which they had to use to pay off any debts owing. If they have no debt they get to spend the money. What this does is reduce the amount of money banks have to loan out in the first place which I would say is what drove the housing crisis in the first place.

    We need to do something radical like Steve’s idea, we don’t need to create a class of people who think the house they are renting from the government is basically in their ownership in everything but title.

    Another alternative would be to build houses as required, rent them to those who need them (as opposed to those who moan the loudest) and then offer to sell them to the residents. This one will be slower to take effect.

    • karol 2.1

      As a lifetime renter, I disagree with your and both Labour and National’s focus on home ownership.  ultimately this will always benefit the better off people.  Many on lower incomes, who manage to srape together enough to afford a house, are always at the insecure and struglling end of the ladder.
       
      If there are more state houses, then private landlords will also have to provide rents at at a reasonable price.  other countries, e.g. in Scandanavia, don’t put so much emphasis on home ownership.  Many middleclass people are happy to rent all their lives.

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.1

        All which is required is a secure long term tenancy, and agreed rights to make minor decorative changes to a property, and I suggest a shit load of people would be happy to rent all their lives.

        • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.1

          Yep, if people are secure in their tenancy then they will be quite happy. People renting from private landlords aren’t secure in their tenancy and, as Karol points out, low income people trying to own their own home aren’t secure either.

      • mike e 2.1.2

        Karol even better off people are at an advantage to rent as proven on Campbell live about 2 months ago.If they are disciplined enough they can save the difference on mortgage maintenance rates and insurance and invest it they will be far better off!
        Even Don Brashes productivity commission said that housing affordability was the biggest factor in New Zealands decline against Australia that’s probably why Shonkey closed it down the only ones benefiting from our current regime are the four gouging major trading banks who are happy as allowing our housing bubble to reignite!
        Housing is the single most important issue for maintaining family stability if families have a permanent roof over their head they will thrive!
        Since the Douglas /Richardson years Itinerant families have become the norm not allowing stability when it comes to child rearing it is most important to have children settled at home and school!

  3. AwakeWhileSleeping 3

    Another comment:

    Broadly speaking, the “haves” and “have not’s” can now be clearly divided between the owners of real estate + those who have stable long term rentals and everyone else who is forced into the scramble for available property.

    * Children are often caught inbetween, a growing number of which are attending multiple primary schools as a direct result of housing insecurity. This has not been covered by the media. Tawa College where my children go has a program to pick up these children some of which have attended 10-15 primary schools according to those I spoke to at the school. Most colleges still don’t provide this type of enhanced support due to lack of funding/workloads.

    * Families in poverty have financial situations made worse by moving costs and in particular “letting fees” which are not regulated by law when they are forced to move due (due to rental increases, houses being sold, or family members of the owner moving back in because they can’t find affordable housing etc). They more they move, the poorer they.

  4. karol 4

    In the general debate, David Shearer did a pretty good job of laying into the government’s housing policy….. until he got Phil Heatley’s name wrong and called him “Craig Heatley”.  Shearer put too much emphasis on home ownership.

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