web analytics

Postcard from a 21st century renter

Written By: - Date published: 1:19 pm, December 3rd, 2012 - 16 comments
Categories: greens, history, housing, Left, mana, poverty - Tags:

Dear Jack,

It’s been almost a century since your major contribution to NZ well-being, and many still see you as an inspiration for a left wing vision of community and solidarity. Unfortunately, we are having to fight the same old battles once more.  The struggling poor are still being demonised and scapegoated, and we need more state housing. Jack, in the name of your selfless, visionary and productive generation, some are misappropriating, misnaming and distorting your vision into a platform for the children of middle-class property owners. The bankster-driven, housing market is a jealous god, and will not tolerate the active promotion of affordable rents, and safe and secure housing for the children of the poor.  Fortunately there are those, like you, who are still willing to make a stand for a more fair, equal and community-based NZ.

16 comments on “Postcard from a 21st century renter”

  1. Phaedrus 1

    Jack wasn’t well treated by the party then and I suspect that the same would apply if he was a member of the party today. Wasted talent.

  2. Peter 2

    Well, no one can doubt John A. Lee’s intention on housing, and also on economics (he and Kirk were the Labour politicians who delved the deepest into social credit theory), there’s a bit of revisionist history going on here.

    People love a martyr, and he was able to create himself into one, but don’t forget that this was the man who publicly and viciously attacked NZ’s most loved Prime Minister (by writing Psychopathology in Politics), whilst he was dying of cancer. Savage literally gave his life for social security, delaying treatment so he could fight the 1938 election.

    • karol 2.1

      There’s nothing revisitionist about crediting Lee with being the main driver of state housing – the topic of my post.  What is revisionist, is trying to pass off KiwiBuild, which focuses on the private market, as being a similar move to what Lee and his fellow Labour MPs did back then.

      • AsleepWhileWalking 2.1.1

        Absolutely. There isn’t even a strategy to stop wealthy from (predictably) taking advantage of the policy and no clear method, or for that matter intention to target assistance to those most in need – the people who currently don’t own housing, and have legit reasons why they can’t afford out of control market rates.

        Without more targeted assistance Labour could save a lot of time and money by encouraging 100 year mortgages which would technically make all housing “affordable” again.

        • QoT 2.1.1.1

          As I said in a post on the topic, the problem isn’t just the lack of strategy to stop the wealthy taking advantage – it’s the deliberate choice not to have such a strategy at all, and the deliberate effort made to justify not cutting out the wealthy.

          • karol 2.1.1.1.1

            When I read various articles for this post, I was reminded that so many of the Labour Government of the 30s had come from working class backgrounds:

            In the early 1930s, New Zealand was in the grip of the Depression. There was mass unemployment, and the government had no idea what to do about it….

            Labour’s senior members had been miners, labourers and union activists. Although very few of them had gone beyond primary school, they had enough common sense to see that “the methods of sound finance” were major causes of New Zealand’s desperate economic situation….

            Most of the members of that government were ordinary working-class blokes who had never been beyond primary school, but thanks to them, we achieved prosperity in a remarkably short time because we used our own resources – and Kiwi common sense.

            Now most (all?) of the Labour MPs are university educated and have a comfortable lifestyle.  It’s no wonder they don’t have the same passion and commitment to provide for low income people, and have produced a housing policy from a middle-class perspective.

            • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Now most (all?) of the Labour MPs are university educated and have a comfortable lifestyle.

              And that really is a problem – especially in economics where everything that’s taught is wrong.

            • Chalupa Batman 2.1.1.1.1.2

              I believe I’ve pointed this out to be one of Labours problems in the past…

  3. just saying 3

    Thank you Karol. Well said.

  4. Bill 4

    Future proofed housing is what’s needed. The days of the self contained ‘nuclear family’ housing unit need to be consigned to history. Labour could have made a start on that even though they are punting to the middle classes. But, of course, they haven’t.

    • karol 4.1

      Very good suggestions, Bill.  Yes, while the first state housing programme provides a bit of a guideline, it needs to be re-thought for the 21st century.  The original state housing were on little sections and quite suburban looking, and designed for nuclear families.

  5. bad12 5

    A round of applause for this post, Labour’s KiwiBuild is simply the Socialism of, by, and, for the middle class,

    The same middle class which created the issue of ‘affordability’ in the first place by piling into home ownership as a rental investment en masse has not only managed to trap the working poor as their captive tenant base as State housing became mainly the preserve of the ‘newer’ creation ‘the beneficiary class’ also managed to ensure their own children would be left out of home ownership by house prices being forced higher,

    The only (slightly) credible defense i have so far seen put forward from the pro faction for KiwiBuild is that ‘in time’ the middle class taking advantage of KiwiBuild will take pressure off of the rental market and rents for the working poor might ease,

    Pink fucking pigs might grow avionic protuberances and fucking fly ‘in time’ as well in the ‘time’ it will take for yet more of the Neo-liberal trickle down bullshit theory to manifest itself in the pockets of the working poor as a + in income saved from being forced to service some-one else’s mortgage,

    Given ‘time’ those from the middle class empowered by Labour’s KiwiBuild plan will accrue enough equity in such property as to allow them to use this to re-mortgage into a second and third property thus following their parents into the Landlord class…

  6. Descendant Of Smith 6

    With an older population I would have thought also that bulldozing some of the older rental stock close town, building retirement housing and allowing swaps of a 3 or 4 bedroom houses in the suburbs for such retirement housing would make some sense.

    Freeing up land further out of anywhere brings it’s own transport difficulties and moving older people close to amenities where they have easy access to public transport and access to supermarkets, movie theatres, shops, etc makes much more sense to me.

    There’s little difference in most provincial centres between an older 3 to 4 bedroom house with a section and a new low maintenance unit for pricing and a voluntary one for one swap would free up larger homes and provide a bit of renewal for the next 20 years or so for the fringe 1930’s to 1960’s homes that are mainly deteriorating rentals these days.

    A good design of several units u-shaped around a central garden area seems to me to be a viable option.

    The freed up homes could become the state rentals or rent-to-buy from the state options and the state (followed by councils) could also have first right of purchase for the units which then then be rented out to older people as the original swap owners die off.

  7. Chalupa Batman 7

    Gotta say Children of the Poor was a pretty good book

  8. Imagine Labour thinking like Karl Marx Hof meets Hundertwasser?
    http://www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/Karl_Marx_Hof.html

  9. millsy 9

    From what I understand, John A Lee slowly moved to the right during his latter years, becoming a confidant of Robert Muldoon, and supporting the Vietnam War. He also counted the bible bashing mayor of Mt Roskill, Keith Hay (who pioneered outsourcing of council services) in his colleaugues, having formed the Democratic Labour Party with him, along with Roger Douglas’ father. He died in 1982, just as the fish and chip brigade was about move to depose Bill Rowling and impose their monetarist theories on an unwitting Labour party. It is possible he would have been supportive of them had he still lived.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Disability sector is in a ‘slow burning crisis’
    Disability advocates say the sector is in crisis and broken, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.  “A roundtable at Parliament organised by the Labour Party, heard today how National has left disability services chronically underfunded. ...
    4 hours ago
  • NZ fisheries depend on the environment – they should protect it
    The attitude of the fishing industry and the National Government to our oceans, and the life within it, still amazes me. Like many New Zealanders, I find it perplexing that an industry which depends entirely on the long-term health of ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    4 hours ago
  • Bigger is not always better with local government reform
    I have written previously about the overwhelming opposition expressed by local councils and community members to the latest Local Government reforms.  The Select Committee heard more submissions this week, specifically about some of the unintended consequences that may arise from ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    5 hours ago
  • Labour calls for state of emergency on homelessness
    Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford is calling on the Government to declare a state of emergency over the nation’s homelessness crisis. “There are 42,000 people homeless and living in severe housing stress while the National Government behaves like a possum ...
    1 day ago
  • Labour calls for state of emergency on homelessness
    Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford is calling on the Government to declare a state of emergency over the nation’s homelessness crisis. “There are 42,000 people homeless and living in severe housing stress while the National Government behaves like a possum ...
    1 day ago
  • Government must review state sector retirement investment
    The State Sector Retirement Savings Scheme has no business investing in companies which manufacture cluster bombs, anti-personnel mines and nuclear weapons, Labour MP and Parliamentarians for Global Action executive member Su’a William Sio says. “I endorse the call made by the ...
    2 days ago
  • Councils shouldn’t rush into Easter Trading
    City and district councils must ensure they don’t rush into trading on Easter Sunday ahead of local body elections next month, Labour’s Pacific Islands Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio says. “This decision must be taken seriously and only after extensive ...
    2 days ago
  • Minister can’t wash hands of illegal KiwiSaver investments
    The Minister responsible for appointing default KiwiSaver providers should take responsibility for ensuring they act legally, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The National Government has now had confirmed what they were told more than a week ago – that ...
    2 days ago
  • Fixing our broken economy
    Globally, the “neo-liberal” consensus is rapidly vanishing (I use quotation marks because there are some in Aotearoa who deny such a thing as neo-liberalism exists). Regardless of the debate around its meaning, neo-liberal is a useful descriptor for the general ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter
    3 days ago
  • Fixing our broken economy
    Globally, the “neo-liberal” consensus is rapidly vanishing (I use quotation marks because there are some in Aotearoa who deny such a thing as neo-liberalism exists). Regardless of the debate around its meaning, neo-liberal is a useful descriptor for the general ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter
    3 days ago
  • Government railroading Maori Land Bill through
    Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell seems determined to railroad his Te Ture Whenua Maori Bill through despite the large number of submitters in opposition to the bill, says MP Meka Whaitiri, whose Ikaroa-Rāwhiti electorate contains nearly 30 per cent ...
    3 days ago
  • A national day to commemorate NZ land wars
    It’s fantastic that the government has agreed to a hold a national day commemorating the New Zealand land wars. Announced at Kingi Tūheitia’s 10th koroneihana celebrations, alongside the return of Rangiriri Pā to the Kingitanga, the news marked a significant ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    3 days ago
  • A national day to commemorate NZ land wars
    It’s fantastic that the government has agreed to a hold a national day commemorating the New Zealand land wars. Announced at Kingi Tūheitia’s 10th koroneihana celebrations, alongside the return of Rangiriri Pā to the Kingitanga, the news marked a significant ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    3 days ago
  • Government turns a blind eye to struggling sole parents
    Social Development Minister Anne Tolley’s claims that her Government’s work with sole parents is her biggest success are in tatters after a major increase in homelessness amongst that group, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “Anne Tolley is seriously ...
    3 days ago
  • Time has come for state apology on abuse
    Labour is today calling on the Government to issue an apology for historic abuse in state institutions. Speaking after the launch of Elizabeth Stanley’s book “The Road to Hell; state violence against Children in Post-war New Zealand”, Labour’s Justice spokesperson ...
    3 days ago
  • It’s OK to have a few slaves, just not too many? Minimum wage loophole hasn’t gone away
    New Zealand still needs legislation to ensure adult New Zealanders are not exploited by being taken on as contractors for less than the equivalent of the minimum wage, says Labour list MP David Parker.  “My Minimum Wage (Contractor Remuneration) Amendment ...
    3 days ago
  • Lessons from the Future of Work Commission: Building Wealth from the Ground Up
    Good morning, and thank you for attending today’s Future of Work Seminar here in Wellington. I want to particularly acknowledge Beth Houston who has spent many hours pulling together the programme for today’s event, and to Olivier and the staff ...
    3 days ago
  • Cooking 4 Change at the Auckland City Mission
    On Tuesday evening I participated in the launch of the ‘Cooking 4 Change’ recipe book, which Metiria and I both contributed our favourite recipes to. Along with Dick Frizzell, Trelise Cooper, Tiki Taane, Erin Simpson, Jono & Ben, Colin Mathura-Jeffree, a couple ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    4 days ago
  • Cooking 4 Change at the Auckland City Mission
    On Tuesday evening I participated in the launch of the ‘Cooking 4 Change’ recipe book, which Metiria and I both contributed our favourite recipes to. Along with Dick Frizzell, Trelise Cooper, Tiki Taane, Erin Simpson, Jono & Ben, Colin Mathura-Jeffree, a couple ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    4 days ago
  • Backbencher Matt’s Bill is a Doocey
    The latest National Member’s Bill pulled from the ballot is yet another waste of Parliament’s time and shows the Government’s contempt for the House and the public with much more important issues needing debate, says Labour’s Shadow Leader of the ...
    4 days ago
  • Gun laws creaking under the strain
     Questions have to be asked  after surprising revelations at the Law and Order Select Committee about the police and their ability to manage the gun problem in New Zealand, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “The lack of resources is ...
    4 days ago
  • Most homeless are working poor – Otago Uni
    The finding by Otago University researcher Dr Kate Amore that most homeless people are in work or study is one of the most shocking aspects of the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Social service agencies report many ...
    4 days ago
  • Māori seats entrenched by Tirikatene Bill
    National and the Māori Party need to support my member’s Bill which is designed to entrench the Māori electorate seats in Parliament, Labour’s Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene says. “Under the Electoral Act the provisions establishing the general electorates ...
    4 days ago
  • Trade dumping bill could hurt NZ industries
    The Commerce Select Committee is currently hearing submissions on the Trade (Anti-dumping and Countervailing Duties) Amendment Bill. This bill worries me. I flagged some major concerns during its first reading.   I am now reading submissions from NZ Steel, ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    5 days ago
  • Just 8 per cent of work visas for skills shortages
    Just 16,000 – or 8 per cent – of the 209,000 work visas issued last year were for occupations for which there is an identified skills shortage, says Labour Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “The overwhelming majority of the record number ...
    5 days ago
  • Hard won agreement shouldn’t be thrown away
    The Government should ignore talk across the Tasman about doing away with the labelling of GM free products, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. “Labelling of genetically modified products was a hard won agreement in 2001 by Australian and the ...
    5 days ago
  • National’s privatisation Trojan horse
     The National government is using the need to modernise the school system as a Trojan horse for privatisation and an end to free public education as we know it, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.  “There is no doubt that ...
    5 days ago
  • Shameless land-banking ads show need for crackdown
    The fact that more than 300 sections are shamelessly being advertised on Trade Me as land-banking opportunities during a housing crisis shows the need for a crackdown on property speculators, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “Of the 328 ...
    5 days ago
  • Standard and Poor’s warning of housing crisis impact on banks
    The National Government’s failure to address the housing crisis is leading to dire warnings from ratings agency Standard and Poor’s about the impact on the strength of the economy and New Zealand banks, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Standard ...
    5 days ago
  • Ihumatao needs action not sympathy
    The Petition of Save Our Unique Landscape (SOUL) calling on Parliament to revoke Special Housing Area 62 in order to protect the Ihumatao Peninsula and Stonefields, has fallen on deaf ears, says the Labour MP for Mangere Su’a William Sio.  ...
    5 days ago
  • Another delay to justice system reform for victims of sexual violence
    I believe most, if not all, New Zealanders would expect our court system to uphold the dignity of complainants, hold perpetrators to account for crimes including sexual and domestic violence and uphold the crucial right to a fair trial. Yet ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    5 days ago
  • Another delay to justice system reform for victims of sexual violence
    I believe most, if not all, New Zealanders would expect our court system to uphold the dignity of complainants, hold perpetrators to account for crimes including sexual and domestic violence and uphold the crucial right to a fair trial. Yet ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    5 days ago
  • Student visa fraud & exploitation must stop
    The Government must act immediately to end fraud and exploitation of international students that threatens to damage New Zealand’s reputation, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. ...
    6 days ago
  • Government needs to show leadership in reviewing monetary policy
    The Reserve Bank’s struggles to meet its inflation target, the rising exchange rate and the continued housing crisis shows current monetary policy needs to be reviewed - with amendments to the policy targets agreement a bare minimum, says Labour’s Finance ...
    6 days ago
  • Local democracy under threat
    The National Government is in the process of gutting our local democracy through it’s Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). We’ve been hearing submissions from councils, and a few community members, all around the country who are deeply ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    6 days ago
  • Local democracy under threat
    The National Government is in the process of gutting our local democracy through it’s Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). We’ve been hearing submissions from councils, and a few community members, all around the country who are deeply ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    6 days ago
  • Slash and burn of special education support
    Slashing the support for school age children with special needs is no way to fund earlier intervention, Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.  “National’s latest plan to slash funding for children with special needs over the age of 7 in ...
    1 week ago
  • National’s Pasifika MPs must have free vote
      Pacific people will not take kindly to the Government whipping their Pacific MPs to vote in favour of a  Bill that will allow Sunday trading  at Easter, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “We are seeing ...
    1 week ago
  • Maritime Crimes Bill – balancing security and free speech
    Parliament is currently considering the Maritime Crimes Amendment Bill, which would bring New Zealand up to date with current international rules about maritime security. The debate around the Bill reflects two valid issues: legitimate counter-terrorism measures and the right to ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    1 week ago
  • Rio Olympics captioning – setting the record straight
    In the House on Thursday, my colleague, Labour Party spokesperson on Disability Issues, Poto Williams asked a great question. After which the Minister, Nicky Wagner, stood up and finally publicly acknowledged the National Foundation for the Deaf for funding the ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    1 week ago
  • Rio Olympics captioning – setting the record straight
    In the House on Thursday, my colleague, Labour Party spokesperson on Disability Issues, Poto Williams asked a great question. After which the Minister, Nicky Wagner, stood up and finally publicly acknowledged the National Foundation for the Deaf for funding the ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    1 week ago
  • Teachers’ low wages at the centre of shortages
      Figures that show teachers’ wages have grown the slowest of all occupations is at the heart of the current teacher shortage, says Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  In the latest Labour Cost Index, education professionals saw their wages grow ...
    1 week ago
  • Government’s Tax Law undermines common law principles
    A tax amendment being snuck in under the radar allows changes to tax issues to be driven through by the Government without Parliamentary scrutiny, says Labour’s Revenue spokesman Stuart Nash. “The amendment allows any part of the Tax Administration Act ...
    1 week ago
  • Government slippery about caption funding
      The Government has refused to apologise for taking the credit for funding Olympic Games captioning when the National Foundation for the Deaf  was responsible, says Labour’s spokesperson on Disability Issues Poto Williams.  “This shameful act of grandstanding by Ministers ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Default KiwiSaver investments should be reviewed
    The investments of the default KiwiSaver providers should be reviewed to make sure they are in line with New Zealanders’ values and expectations, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Most New Zealanders would be appalled that their KiwiSaver funds are ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New ministry should look after all children
    The Government has today shunned well founded pleas by experts not to call its new agency the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Labour’s Spokesperson for Children Jacinda Ardern says.  “Well respected organisations and individuals such as Children's Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Triclosan – nasty chemical will be reassessed
    Last week my campaign for this chemical to be reassessed by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) took another step forward. After many months of waiting, the EPA have agreed that triclosan needs to be reassessed. Triclosan is an ingredient in many ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Triclosan – nasty chemical will be reassessed
    Last week my campaign for this chemical to be reassessed by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) took another step forward. After many months of waiting, the EPA have agreed that triclosan needs to be reassessed. Triclosan is an ingredient in many ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Ratification okay but we need action
    Today’s decision to ratify the Paris agreement on Climate Change by the end of the year is all well and good but where is the plan, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods.  “The Government’s failure to plan is planning ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Stats changes can’t hide unemployment reality
    Today’s minor drop in unemployment numbers is nothing to celebrate given the changes made to the official numbers that cut thousands of people looking for work out of the jobless rate, says Labour’s Employment spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Making any comparisons ...
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere