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National’s house of straw

Written By: - Date published: 5:38 pm, February 14th, 2008 - 13 comments
Categories: housing, same old national - Tags: ,

Affordable housing is the topic de jour. The foundation of affordable housing in New Zealand and other developed nations has long been houses built by the government and rented cheaply: state housing.

Since the construction of the first state house in 1937, it has been a history of Labour building them and National selling them off, culminating the 1990s free-for-all.


National cut state house construction from 2500 a year to 250, while it began selling them at up to 3000 a year. Just as bad, those people who could stay in a state house saw their rents skyrocket with the introduction of ‘market rents’ while wages stagnated and benefits were cut. By the end of those years over 10,000 state houses had been sold. If it had gone on much longer we would have seen the unplanned shantytowns develop that the First Labour Government built state houses to avoid in the first place.

The Labour-led Government placed a moratorium on most state house sales and has undertaken a vigorous building and renovation program, as well as reducing rents. Every step of the way National has called for more sell-offs and simultaneously criticised the Government for the wait-list of would-be state house tenants; an extra 10,000 state house are needed, the wait-list only exists because of National’s sell-off. And to take the hypocrisy one step further, John Key has vigorously opposed state housing construction in his wealthy electorate calling it “economic vandalism”.

13 comments on “National’s house of straw”

  1. SweetDisorder 1

    pretty graph, what happened to the data post 2002?

  2. The Double Standard 2

    Reading the source article it seems that sales were mainly to tenants.

    I guess it just proves the point that the Nats favour individual effort and advancement (ambitious?) while Teh Party would rather keep the proles sucking on the state’s tit.

    Of course its no surprise that state house sales will have dropped in the last few years – due to Teh Party’s shameful record on housing affordibility, a typical tenant will no longer be able to afford them.

  3. Chemist Peter 3

    We need a high no. of SHT to keep voting their Landlord back into power.
    Statehouses should be a hand up, not a handout. This site assumes we should pay for everything. Anyone against this is a fight wing jackboot wearing member of the SS.

  4. r0b 4

    due to Teh Party’s shameful record on housing affordibility

    National = market rents. Labour = income related rents. The shameful record on housing affordability is National’s.


  5. Gooner 5

    “The foundation of affordable housing in New Zealand and other developed nations has long been houses built by the government and rented cheaply: state housing.”

    Yeah, mostly houses that are cold, damp, damaged and overloaded with occupants.

    Private property ownership (i.e. selling to tenants) gives them pride in their property resulting in better quality housing.

    Governments can’t and shouldn’t run health systems, education establishments and certainly shouldn’t build and own houses.

  6. lprent 6

    rOb. On your request. Did some research on search for search plugins. Found two that I’ll try out on a copy of the site. The best looking one is google based, but has a flaw. It is wide, and seems to leave some kind of largish icon in IE trident engine (that figures). Looks good in mozilla and khtml based engines (firefox and safari mainly). There is a css hack that looks like it might work for the people still using IE.

  7. lprent 7

    Using safari on windows right now, I’m afraid I mainly use the mac for testing css and javascript on old safari’s. I’ll try to get it in before I do the other upgrades.

  8. r0b 8

    If only all developers were as thorough about testing for a range of browsers. (If only people would give up IE, If only MS didn’t intentionally break standards).


  9. r0b 9

    Governments can’t and shouldn’t run health systems, education establishments

    Why make statements that are simply false? Governments can run health systems and educational establishments. They do so in New Zealand, for example.

  10. r0b 10

    Cheers Lynn! That’s great!

    Looks good in mozilla and khtml based engines (firefox and safari mainly). There is a css hack that looks like it might work for the people still using IE

    I’m one of those insufferably smug Mac / Safari users, so I’m happy. I’m off line this weekend, but will look out for it when I get back…

  11. Steve Pierson 11

    Sweet. I presume Housing NZ would have the later data, but the graph is from the NZHistory site, and only goes to 2002, unfortunately.

    DoubleStandard. Traditionally, houses were sold to tenants by both parties. National begana free-for-all sell-off in the 1990s.

  12. how many houses in NZ does Key own? Seven i believe. lowering their value wouldn’t make a lot of sense to Key.

  13. AncientGeek 13

    Thoughtful post on Helen’s speech at The Thorndon Bubble “Clark’s “real’ speech“. Well worth a read.

    I think that state funded housing is an essential part of the role of the government in human infrastructure.

    It is part of the public health system. Inadequate housing is the third fastest way to cause reservoirs of diseases. The others are lack of a clean water supply, and inadequate sewerage systems.

    Similarly inadequate housing is one of the fastest ways to ensure that a child is unable to utilize the education system. The effects of that not only affect their future opportunities, but also their children, and society. It is difficult to grow and economy, even more so if you do not have people capable of changing with it.

    cap: Shriver City
    first word should have been Shiver and it’d have been perfect

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