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Bennett’s housing “announcement” is a re-announcement and a lie

Written By: - Date published: 3:27 pm, May 25th, 2016 - 140 comments
Categories: housing, human rights, paula bennett, spin - Tags: , , ,

“News” today:

Social Housing Minister: Homeless could be offered up to $5000 to leave Auckland

Homeless people could be offered up to $5000 to leave Auckland and resettle in a state house in the provinces, Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett has confirmed.

The policy was put together in the last few days and was announced this afternoon as the Government goes into damage control over its handling of housing problems in New Zealand. …

It was not “put together in the last few days”, because it was already announced back in January:

‘$3000’ to leave Auckland

Aucklanders languishing on the state house waiting list are likely to be offered financial incentives to move to regions that have a surplus of homes, the Herald can reveal.

Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett confirmed last night that the Government wants prospective tenants to consider moving to regions where dozens of state houses are vacant – and in some cases could be offered thousands of dollars in taxpayer sweeteners. …

See – RACHEL SMALLEY: Shunting out poor won’t solve housing crisis

Update: “Policy” on the hoof…

140 comments on “Bennett’s housing “announcement” is a re-announcement and a lie ”

  1. M. Gray 1

    This is not policy it is a form of bribery and the gnats think they can move people like farmers move their stock disgusting and unethical. Time for those who were sucked into voting for this horrid lot to toss these leeches out

    • b waghorn 1.1

      As long as there is no punitive aspect to an offer of relocation its a good idea. Lots of empty houses in Taumarunui and other small towns,

      • joe90 1.1.1

        Of course here in the provinces we’re all geared up with medical/social services to spare..

        • b waghorn

          Chicken and egg territory , its a hell of a lot cheaper to improve services in small town nz than to build houses in Auckland.

          • Colonial Viper

            I’ve been saying for ages that regional towns are the way to go. Bring some population and investment back into provincial NZ.

            • weka

              Yep. But paying low income people to move there is not a regional revitalisation plan by any stretch of the imagination.

            • Pat

              however centralising services is one of the main reasons there are now empty houses in provincial NZ….go figure

            • b waghorn

              It would kill so many birds with a couple of stones. Oh for a government that can see past the big cities.

          • weka

            And yet small towns are losing services. We shouldn’t get too distracted by the bauble, because the only way it works is if the govt attends to other issues at the same time and does anyone seriously believe that that will happen under National? It’s one of those policies that could work really well under a proper left wing govt who was managing things well across the board but works very badly under a right wing neoliberal one who just want it to look like they are doing something.

            Are there jobs in Taumarunui? What kind of jobs? Are they stable? What is the local WINZ office like? More punitive or less punitive than the where the person is leaving? What happens to the people that move if it doesn’t work out and now they are removed from their support systems? Will WINZ punish them if they move back to Auckland? (yes, WINZ really does do that).

            • Brigid

              No there are no jobs in Taumarunui.
              It was the Taumarunui WINZ office that cut a womans benefit off when they claimed she hadn’t advised them that she was leaving the country for a fortnight. The fact is she had told them and even if she hadn’t Immigration always advises WINZ when beneficiaries leave or return to the country.
              The smog in the winter has to be seen to be believed; it is a particularly unhealthy place to live.
              All public services have been run down over the last 20 years; the train doesn’t even stop there these days.
              And are there any available state houses there anyway? If so they’d be those built in the 60s, cold, damp and bloody horrible to live in.

      • Rosie 1.1.2

        b wags, the punitive aspects will be that people might be forced to choose between leaving a long term job and taking their kids out of school, where they are in a routine and have friends.

        Remember, some of those living in cars were going to work during the day. Like the family where the father went to work, got $600 a week but couldn’t afford private rentals in Akld.

        What is an influx of outsiders into a township going do to improve a struggling person’s life and what is it going to do to that town? There are no jobs, and it will only put pressure the services that exist for the locals.

        You can’t just pluck people and families up out of their home town and dump them somewhere unfamiliar. This is a phenomenal amount of authoritarian interference in people’s lives, as if they have no free will.

        This “idea” treats our very own people as if they were economic refugee’s in a civil war, except they’re not being shipped off to another country, they are being shipped off down the line.

        • b waghorn

          It has to be voluntary and I don’t in visage a thousand people turning up in small town nz at once. of course national are incapable of getting it right .
          It would be very interesting to see if all that are on struggle street are Auckland born and breed or are people who washed up there in one way or another.

          • Rosie

            Until Pullya Benefit sets her plan in motion, and I hear it begins without squads of social workers they happened to magic up from somewhere, going and speaking with the homeless, we won’t know how voluntary it is. While they may not force it upon people, they may certainly coerce them.

            Given the thousands of homeless there are in Akld, you could still have, say, 75 – 100? begin to dribble into Ngaruwahia, one of the selected towns. That number is surely going to have an impact………..

            OR maybe nothing will eventuate. There’s always that possibility. Like you say, National Govt are incapable of getting it right, and at this stage we don’t know how it will pan out.

            • BM

              Ngaruwahia is a nice small town with cheap quality housing.

              Also it’s close to Hamilton.

        • Colonial Viper

          Well Auckland is like a spiralling economic black hole. As the city hoovers up more people and money out of the provinces, then of course it is going to end up a huge concentration of jobs and economic activity, while the regions gradually empty out and die out.

          • Rosie

            Yep, got that CV – I got out of Auckland 10 years ago – it’s like a black hole on several different levels, as well as being an economic suction unit for the country.

            But turfing the struggling and potentially traumatised, traumatised from not having their most basic needs met, and living with apprehension and anxiety on a daily basis, out into the regions isn’t going to create a regional economic flowering.

            Far better to have a long term solid strategy for the regions, not this making stuff up on the fly to brush a problem under the carpet.

            Remember Cunliffe had a regional development plan as part of the election 2014 policy? Nobody seemed to want to hear about it, or nobody cared, with Shamubeel Eequab referring to regional towns as “zombie towns”?

            I don’t recall it involving a plan of dumping the suffering in another part of the country and leaving them to it.

            • Colonial Viper

              Well, it is true that National will dump these people in the regions with no plan

              Whereas Labour will take 4 years to come up with the plans and then finally dump the people then

              Pick your poison

              btw I lived in Auckland for 5 years, and yes that was enough.

              • adam

                I would not live anywhere else than Auckland that is. No other services or communities like it in the rest of the country.

                Plus anything south of Papakura is just too cold.

                And anyway, what has the rest of the country got to offer? I say move parliament back to Auckland, and we will sort this country.

                • Wensleydale

                  And you are part of the reason why everywhere else hates Auckland.

                • Colonial Viper

                  And anyway, what has the rest of the country got to offer? I say move parliament back to Auckland, and we will sort this country.

                  Yeah man, we’ll build a massive Gaza style wall north of Huntly and you can have that part of the country to yourselves.

                  Walling off Auckland will definitely sort out the rest of NZ quite quickly.

                  Especially if you take all those bloody MPs.

                • A.Ziffel

                  I hope you get your wish. It might finally create the tipping point for the South Island to secede.

              • Chris

                Think it goes more like:

                “Whereas Labour will take 4 years to come up with the plans and then finally dump the plans.”

                Labour needs to piss off and let someone else be the opposition. They’re being doubly irresponsible by standing for nothing and at the same time taking up the space which means Key and his mates get a free pass. Guess that’s triply irresponsible.

      • Adrian 1.1.3

        An interesting statistical profile of Taumarunui..


        Unfortunately the figure only go up to 2013, so there may have been a boom in employment opportunities since then. But it would seem an odd place to send disadvantaged families to, with a decreasing population (hence the available houses) and an increasing level of unemployment.

        • b waghorn

          Yes it would take government to actually you know govern, and actively bring work to the regions.
          We have lots of empty cheap houses ,rents are around $200 but we don’t have the numbers to keep the facilities up to scratch.

          I actually think that small towns should be seperated from the rural electorates so there needs get represented.
          By this I mean all the central north island towns get grouped into one electorate and get given their own mp . and so on for each area. The boundies could be the 50 k sign.

      • Guerilla Surgeon 1.1.4

        But no work.

  2. M. Gray 2

    Is there jobs in Taumarunui I don’t think so

    • b waghorn 2.1

      More people in an area creates work . I doubt the mums in motels are working any way. Maybe someone should ask them what they think of being offered a house somewhere else.

      • miravox 2.1.1

        Wasn’t too long ago people were being forced to move to the cities to prove willingness to work because there were no jobs.

        I’m looking forward to the announcement of the new regional development strategy.

        That’s gonna happen, right?

        • Graeme

          You’ve got it there.

          It’s not the homeless that need to be moved to the provinces, that’s got shades of Victorian England exporting their social outcasts to the colonies. It’s some big employers that need to be shifted out of the cities. Could start with offices of government agencies, a good review to see what doesn’t have to be in Auckland.

          And probably a good policy area for the opposition to look at facilitating moving employment out of areas with accomodation issues.

          • Chris

            What Opposition? If it’s Labour you’re talking about they’ll come up with nothing. All Sepuloni could say about the problem was to come across angry that Tolley couldn’t provide the statistics for the total number of repayable grants for motels, calling for “transparency”. Yeah, that’ll sock it to ’em, eh? Useless fucks.

          • Chris

            A good review to see what doesn’t have to be in Auckland a marvelous idea, though, really good.

            • Graeme

              Yeah, there should be plenty of candidates at govt level. In private sector, the number of national (as in NZ wide) call centres up there is amazing, like most banks and insurance.

              • miravox

                Good points.

                There is also the costs to local councils and ratepayers of providing extra services without extra funding to pay for it. Remember that people on benefits (because no jobs) don’t have the funds to invest in the new area. There is no talk of extra housing (i.e. improves rating base) just extra people who need services. And it’s not just local councils – it’s all local authorities like DHBs and school boards.

                This is not going to be paid for without development strategies beyond initial grants or having everyone in the region being comparatively worse off.

                • Chris

                  Does Labour have the guts to seriously look at this?

                  • miravox

                    Right now I’m much more interested in what the government is doing. We’ll see what Labour, Greens NZF are proposing when there is a possible opportunity to implement policy (i.e. the elections). The government is the only body that can fix things right now, and it seems not to give a toss.

                    Do you think the government will seriously have the guts to look at this?

                    • Chris

                      It’s the strength of an Opposition that influences a government to do something that that government mightn’t ordinarily want to do. At the moment we don’t have an Opposition because Labour is a right-wing party propping up a right-wing government. So while I’m interested in what the government is doing, I’m equally interested in what our purported main opposition party is saying.

                    • miravox

                      Absolutely the opposition needs to produce good ideas and alternatives to government strategy. Stuff that makes sense to the general public and can be backed by examples (not just studies) that work.

                      It’s the strength of the opposition cut-through on issues rather than the opposition policies, per se, that influence the government focus group/poll participants thereby influencing this government. There are a lot of actors in play in changing the minds of these people.

                      Labour had policy to burn last election. It didn’t get them anywhere.


      • weka 2.1.2

        “I doubt the mums in motels are working any way.”

        Most women on the DPB supplement their income with paid work.

        “Maybe someone should ask them what they think of being offered a house somewhere else.”

        I agree. It will probably work for some people. People that wanted to move anyway and have somewhere to go but couldn’t afford it. It’s the other people that we need to be concerned about.

        • b waghorn

          Mrs waghorn has work that’s fitted around wag juniors hours ,( it helps I’ve got good bosses) low paid in general . their is a shortage of flexy child care of the paua type. I’ve been in the wins once , pretty run down , person was friendly and efficient.

          • weka

            Paua type?

            I think my point in my comments to you was that it’s actually pretty risky for someone on a very low income to move away from their support system. Lots of potential for things to go wrong.

            • BM

              If you’re living on the street you don’t have a support network.

              • weka

                Wow, that is easily the most ignorant opinion I have seen on this topic. Seriously dude, educate yourself.

                • BM

                  You’d let friends and family live on the street?

                  • weka

                    What’s the longest you’ve ever taken someone in for BM? Because it’s not as easy or straightforward as you imply.

                    People living on the streets also have support networks from other people living on the streets. Or from support agencies. Or from friends and family whose houses are full.

                    Dossing on someone’s couch counts as being homeless btw. You are homeless if you don’t have the security of a permanent place you can call home. So moving around from place to place, including the street, is being homeless. And those people have networks.

            • b waghorn

              Paua is at home child care . its low cost ,a few years ago they could tap into the 20 hours free ( not sure if it still applies.) Perfect for someone who likes kids and wants to be a stay at home mum.

      • Brigid 2.1.3

        So being a mother isn’t work? It seems you never appreciated your mother’s work.

    • Naki man 2.2

      “Is there jobs in Taumarunui I don’t think so”
      Probably not many jobs in Taumaranui but there are people on long term welfare that might enjoy a slower low stress enviroment.
      There are empty houses in Hamilton, plenty of work there.

      • Gangnam Style 2.2.1

        There’s homeless in Hamilton too…

      • Sabine 2.2.2

        there is plenty of empty houses in AKL, and there is work too.

        but unless the owner of the empty houses is opening the houses up for some people to rent it means nothing.

        Fuck, there is empty houses in Queenstown. Does not mean you get to live in them.

    • Chooky 2.3

      +100 M.Gray…people in the provinces find it hard getting jobs and houses also.

      jonkey Nactional is just trying to spread Auckland’s problems

      …and the provinces won’t thank the Nactional Party

      I think jonkey is going to lose the Election if he doesnt jump overboard first

  3. weka 3

    There’s no such thing as society right? And no such thing as community.

    So, they decided on this policy in January, and then sat on it for 4 months. Always the question with this lot, incompetence or ideology and spin.

    For people that want to move, I hope they can get what they need from this policy. But I don’t hold much hope that the policy will be done in a good and meaningful way, and it is so out of context for all the other urgent issues that need addressing about this situation.

    Good work by the standard authors btw. I feel better informed and if I wasn’t reading here I wouldn’t know what was going on or understand it.

    • left for dead 3.1

      Good point weka,..All the authors here are doing us a great service, even the one or two I don’t quite get, thanks and may it continue. 🙂

  4. Sabine 4

    I am so sick of this shit.

    Our poor in Auckland are someones family in Auckland. They may not be rich and all that glorious but they are still Aucklanders.
    They are our neighbours, our friends, and they might even be us some day. And to simply just offer to pay them a sum that would barely cover two month of living expenses in AKL is just so bloody cold, calculating and dehumanising. She is simply washing her hands of some pesky specks.

    not enough to live, to much to die

    • miravox 4.1


    • Gabby 4.2

      They might be better off a long long way away from their families, especially the ones who are homeless because they were chucked out.

      • Gangnam Style 4.2.1

        Right Gabby, for their own good, how patronising of you. Maybe ship them to Australia?

  5. Kevin 5

    How about Bennet move her family into a state house in Taumarunui for a year as a test case.

    • Pat 5.1

      how about the entireNat cabinet move into John Keys place in Hawaii for say .oh about 50 years or so

  6. John 6

    Is this how this brighter future National promised us in 2008 and 2011 is shaping up?

  7. dukeofurl 7

    Must have worked a treat back in January.

    Trains with cattle cars leaving for provinces from platform nine. All aboard.

  8. BM 8

    Good idea, gives these people a chance to pick themselves up and get back into society.

    Never happen if they stay in Auckland.

    • mauī 8.1

      Yep, encourage them to move away from their friends and family, and take them further away from support services and job opportunities. Marvellous idea!

  9. AmaKiwi 9

    This is what we do with livestock. Drought in one region so shift them to another.

    Doesn’t matter if the cattle and sheep have familial, social, or cultural connections where they are. No need to care about the two-legged livestock either. Dangle some green under their noses and move ’em out.

    What’s that you say? NZ is a democracy so the poor are entitled to as much say as the bought politicians.

    Bro, you been takin’ some dangerous pills. Them pills could start a revolution.

    • BM 9.1

      What bull shit.

      If people want a house they move to where the houses are.

      • miravox 9.1.1

        If people want a job they move to where jobs are, right?
        If people want social support they move to where support is, right?
        If people want healthcare they move to where hospitals are, right?
        If people want education they move to where schools are, right?

        • weka

          Lol. Maybe we should have a merry-go-round economy next.

          • Anne

            We’ve already got it. Paula calls them “Wrap Around” policies – except nobody knows what they are or where they are.

            • Jones

              Because they don’t exist… they’re the policy equivalent of IT “vapourware”.

          • miravox

            Noooo… my head is already spinning! 😉

            I remember last time (1990s) families were forced out of the cities due to neo-liberal bullshit.

        • BM


          • miravox

            So best that the people who need all those things have houses where they are, right?

            Else local authorities where the houses are get funded for those things. Do you see that happening?

            • BM

              These people are homeless, if they want to live in a house they will have to move to a different town.

              It’s either that or stay on the street, their choice.

              • miravox

                How profound BM. Simple choices. I wouldn’t be surprised if you were in the current government with critical thinking at that level.

                • BM

                  It is a simple choice and it will probably be the only choice.

                  • adam

                    So no point in doing what Utah did then? Community housing for homeless.

                    • Sabine

                      mate don’t you know that poor people are not community. Especially not for our National Party bots.

    • Pat 9.2

      “This is what we do with livestock. Drought in one region so shift them to another.”

      or send them to the works

  10. esoteric pineapples 10

    Rachel says: “There is some hefty opposition to intensified housing — and at the same time, the Council has been reluctant to develop greenfields and put more pressure on already struggling infrastructure. That, coupled with an extraordinary level of migration equates to a housing shortage and soaring prices. ”

    She misses the fact that anyone in the world can invest in a rising asset market meaning unlimited billions are available to keep pumping into it. These aren’t houses any more, they are a speculative asset bubble, that people happen to live in. Accommodation needs left the equation years ago.

    What you are going to see in Auckland is a shadow of what has happened in China, masses of housing available that is too expensive to live in while the population live a few blocks away in hovels. The New Zealand equivalent will be near empty houses in half of Auckland and crowded houses in the other half.

    This housing crisis can only be solved by three things all happening at once to dampen both the demand and supply side: No non NZ residents allowed to buy property in NZ, a serious capital gains tax, and the government itself building masses of cheap houses.

    If you the government even builds masses of cheap houses but doesn’t stop the demand from overseas it will just be more wood for the fire.

  11. Draco T Bastard 11

    I’d have no problems with National, or any government, offering cash incentives for people to move to the regions – if they actually had any plans to develop those regions and National doesn’t.

    Of course, if they actually did develop the regions and get high paid and interesting work there then they probably wouldn’t need to bribe people to move.

    So, where’s the government built and owned factories and R&D centres that are going to make moving to the regions worthwhile?

  12. Macro 12

    What a brilliant idea – there is plenty of social housing in Tauranga and Christchurch I hear.
    AND we get to buy up all the houses in South Auckland and make a killing!

    • weka 12.1

      Thanks Macro. There is something not explicit yet about why National think this is a good idea.

      • Macro 12.1.1

        There is a meeting tonite I gather organised by the principal of the Meadowvale Primary school in Tauranga to consider ways to assist the homeless they already have there. Sleeping in cars etc. Closer to Auckland – the cost of a 3 bedroom house in Thames (pop 7500) – if you can get one – is around $400 per week – and not many jobs around since they closed another sawmill just before xmas.
        The Nats really haven’t any idea about this. They are ideologically hamstrung with this crisis for their main belief system is primarily based on the premises of lower taxation, smaller government, and let the market do the work. Of course this was never going to work with the provision of social housing, and now the chickens are coming home to roost. Except there is nowhere for them in the hen house. Because by neglecting the issue for so many years the and selling off of what stock they had, they have left a huge deficit of housing at the bottom end of the socio-economic ladder that was never going to be filled by the market. Developers are not interested in building low cost houses – only providing cheap “mansions” for the “well off”, because they are the only ones who can afford to pay whatever the developers can gouge out of them.
        So the idea of sending the poor elsewhere is about as original a thought as you are likely to get from this shower of nincompoops. The fact that there are housing crises over the whole country simply escapes them. The realisation that once these people are “rehoused” they have to find work (which is non-existent) in order to support themselves simply escapes their comprehension.
        But never mind – the escalation of house prices – even in unfashionable south Auckland – means we can still make a killing buying up houses to rent, or board up, as we see fit.

      • greywarshark 12.1.2

        So the idea of sending the poor elsewhere is about as original a thought as you are likely to get from this shower of nincompoops

        And the RW have tried it before, Nats shifted people round at the time they were aiming for efficiency and market operation by putting up state rents to match private and uplifting single people from 3 bedroom to one, which seems practical but they went to the extent of pushing people to another town away from their friends and familiar places. All right if they wanted to go but treating people as pawns if not.

        Then there was also the belief that people should go to the cities to get work. They couldn’t stay in their home towns if there was no work. So shift away to the city was the ‘plan’. Now it is the opposite.

        We know this government doesn’t know how to govern for the benefit of the people, and what’s more doesn’t care about ‘the people’ just ‘our people’, the kind who fit the mould ‘we’ recognise’. Moulds can be useful or destructive. RW gummints are the latter. And we are supposed to be grateful that they haven’t gone the full hog as with Cameron and the devilish remnants of the British Empah.

        Rob the poor and give to the rich – housing policy for 2016 | Aditya …
        http://www.theguardian.com › Opinion › Housing
        Jan 5, 2016 – But the UK housing market is a catastrophe so dire that it causes even Manhattanites to marvel. … The bill in front of MPs is meant to free up social housing for those most in need …. and a full-throttle attack on tenants in social housing everywhere. ….. I hope it ends in tears, for the culprits, the Conservatives.

        And I fear that the heading below could really be – Assault on poor. But wait, there is a mention of Jeremy Corbyn in the second piece about building new houses etc. Could this be a reaction to a strong assault on the Conservative Party policies?
        Labour could rise in NZ on a mix of policies around housing, get your skates on and get down to the park and practice your high jumps you red ribbon people.

        David Cameron vows ‘assault on poverty’ in conference speech – BBC …
        Oct 7, 2015 – Britain has the lowest social mobility in the developed world, … a standing ovation from Conservative members for a strongly-worded attack on …
        David Cameron: A greater Britain with Conservatives, not with terrorist …
        http://www.telegraph.co.uk › News › Politics › David Cameron
        Oct 7, 2015 – Conservative conference: David Cameron launches ‘national crusade’ to build new homes, vows to keep Britain safe and promises far-reaching social change. … He also mounted his strongest attack on Jeremy Corbyn, the new Labour … for asylum seekers and slashed housing benefit for large families.
        In seeking for efficiency in public housing people lose benefits if they have unused bedrooms. But on the other hand are encouraged to let the spare, and they can keep the money to replace the lost benefit. Now that seems pragmatic. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9970594/Council-tenants-can-rent-out-spare-rooms.html

        But for someone housing a disabled person who is deemed not to need their own bedroom then life is made harder by neglect of their extra responsibilities by government. And having to apply personally to ensure that there is a special grant creates more work, and it can be removed arbitrarily under a change of ‘heart’ by politicians seeking cuts in spending, or the machine-like target systems adopted by government.

        We can be sure that NZ keeps an eye on what other western English speaking countries are doing and is willing to follow them down to further degrading social welfare.

    • mauī 12.2

      Time to bring the bulldozer in, those 2 storey weatherboard state houses are probably an earthquake and a volcano risk. They’re probably full of asbestos and the majority would have p residue too, so bring them down quick smart! Let’s get that land in private hands…

      • Macro 12.2.1

        Let’s get that land in private hands…

        Exactly maui! My think of all the fancy housing we can build once the “peasants” are out of the way! and then we can lease it out, or sell it off at huge profit, to all those foreign “students” who are in desperate need of decent housing.

    • Chooky 12.3

      actually people sleep in cars in Christchurch also

  13. Sabine 13

    and then when they are settled in the regions they are sanctioned by Winz as they removed them from the jobs into the regions where there may not be any jobs for these people?

    and then they have to apply for an emergency grant to buy a car, cause the next Winz office is 60 – 100 kms away?

    really and that is going to solve the issues of working people not earning enough to rent a place to live?
    fucking really?

  14. Neil 14

    This is the thin edge of the wedge, there will be more to come. It wont surprise me that Key & the national party will next require all those on benefits to be sterilised.

    • Gangnam Style 14.1

      That would appeal to their voters unfortunately, they are a sick & vindictive bunch.

  15. Open mike 15

    An old adage is the prevaricator needs to have good memory to ensure the trail of the tales! After nearly eight years it’s becoming nigh impossible for Nats. Any sign of double laning in Northland. A ‘non-concrete’ example of the Government mirages.

  16. Observer Toke 16

    All Hail The Messiah.
    . Our very own Messiah, John Key is organising a desperate diaspora. He will empty Auckland of all those people who do NOT OWN A HOUSE. Our Messiah already has a long history of protecting and prospering His precious property tribe of the wealthy.

    The remaining tribes will be shown the road and be forced to exit the super city. Impoverished; degraded; sub human. No leaders; no assets; no worth. Walled out.

    Paula is on her knees pouring precious Scents and Oils over his sacred feet.

    Strangely the messiah’s tribe has numerous investors from Asia; from Britain; from Germany; from Canada and from the USA. They are like the Tribe of Judah, the Chosen People.

    Auckland STINKS with the STENCH of messiah Key and his incompetent gaggle of followers.

  17. Anne 17

    That smile on Madam Bennett’s face reminds me of the primary school class photos when we were told to say “cheese” just before the camera clicked.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist. As you were…

  18. I can’t believe anyone would even consider discussing this seriously, it’s like a bad joke from a government that has no sense of humor.

  19. the pigman 19

    Incentivising the already poor and desperate to move out of Auckland to the middle of nowhere, where they have no existing friendships, families, or social support networks is a recipe for disaster and sick, centralised social engineering in its most short-term, laissez faire form.

    You can’t just lead people out there with a carrot then expect them to grow those regions. The sorts of places with plenty of state houses (Westport, Invercargill) have no good jobs left. There’s a reason the state houses are emptying out (yep, state housing tenants actually like jobs!).

    When the last Labour government pursued policies like anti-violence against children, anti-capturing of politicians by secret donations from private corporate interests, more efficient use of water and electricity, it was called SOCIAL ENGINEERING and it was vilified. Grizzle grumble bloody Helengrad…

    Now the Nacts are incentivising desperate people to leave the cities and their support networks to go it alone, in places with no jobs, just moving people away from jobs into invisible benefit dependency. Social engineering, much?

    • Venezia 19.1

      I agree pigman. In the last week, we have heard interviews on RNZN and on TV with people who are homeless because of family violence, or where at least one parent is working, or who have lost jobs through medical conditions, or whose kids have medical issues needing regular specialist care at Starship, or who have been forced out of rental housing because landlords are selling up. All of them belong to a family, a community or a school. Paula Benefit is also expecting this to appeal to retired people in State Housing. How are they likely to be advantaged moving to a place where they have no support, where specialist services are non existent, where transport costs are higher? It beggars belief that this could be considered a solution. I have a suspicion it is more about freeing up more housing to sell off to investors whether on shore or off shore. Ship out the poor, the sick and the old to make AKL more attractive to the greedies.

      • Anne 19.1.1

        I have a suspicion it is more about freeing up more housing to sell off to investors whether on shore or off shore.

        More likely the panic button was pushed after the latest Focus Group analysis. Madam grabbed it from her waste paper basket full of failed former policies because a) she’s not capable of making up new policy on the hoof and b) it looks like she’s doing something. She didn’t even get around to telling Bill English about it. It would be hilarious if she’s compromised something English was planning to announce tomorrow.

  20. I believe the public are desperate for a credible and coherent alternative. This is the perfect time, and the perfect issue, for Labour and the Greens to announce jointly an innovative, bold 5 point plan to tackle the housing problem. There are solutions-they just need to be clearly articulated so people can see a unified opposition showing vision and leadership. Thats when the polls will really start to move.

  21. whispering kate 21

    Why does it have to be New Zealanders being bribed out of Auckland to live where there may not be the jobs to help them get on their feet again. Why don’t they bribe new immigrants who wish to live here and send them to live in the hinterlands of New Zealand, they have deep pockets and can create new jobs in these dying towns. It could be made a condition of their gaining residency and having the privilege of living here. Why are our own citizens which I presume they are, being punished for the lack of housing, lack of jobs and being shunted out of the city while on the other hand – permit these immigrants to take up the housing stock by the spades here. Something is out of whack here. Some of this money anecdotally coming in to purchase these houses, is being laundered and hasn’t been earned honestly so why should they be given this hand up when our own citizens are being punished for being paid wages which are not commensurate with the cost of living and making it impossible to rent or purchase a property here.

    Just another punishment being handed out – doesn’t surprise me for one minute.

    • Colonial Viper 21.1

      Love how you position living in regional NZ as a cruel and unusual punishment. Thanks so much for that. Oh hey you wouldn’t happen to be a big city dweller would you now. Surprise surprise.

      • whispering kate 21.1.1

        CV you have it all wrong, I know the hinterlands of NZ quite well in fact and find the way of life more peaceful and refreshing. Yes I do reside in a city but you have got it all wrong, I am thinking of these people being bribed to uproot, leave their family connections, schooling and other networks they have and for what, because through no fault of their own they cannot earn enough to live – “the new working poor” it is called. Immigrants on the other hand have to start again and have no connections to Auckland and have the chance to forge a new life in the provinces, create jobs and businesses with their deep pockets and why shouldn’t they, as part of their living in NZ, be sent to the provinces to try and pump some new blood into these struggling areas. The Government has slowly bled these provinces dry with no incentive for our businesses to relocate there.

        Why do all of the big NZ companies need to cluster on the Viaduct – in this age of technology they could operate anywhere in NZ with no problems at all. They could then give these provinces job opportunities as well. Leaving it to the market is not working, it seems we need to be directed in very narrow lines to ever get anything sensible achieved in this country.

        People on benefits should not be punished for their predicament, their pittance is so low nobody would ever voluntarily stay on a benefit – again I know from close experience that life is shit on a benefit.

        • Colonial Viper

          whispering kate, I know plenty of people in Auckland who are from regional NZ, and given a decent excuse they would go prefer to work in Taupo, Napier, Wanganui, Palmerston North, Nelson or Timaru.

          The truth of the matter is that all these people, maybe 25% of the population of Auckland at a guess, had to uproot themselves from friends, families and networks to go to Auckland in the first place.

        • Pat

          “Immigrants on the other hand have to start again and have no connections to Auckland and have the chance to forge a new life in the provinces, create jobs and businesses with their deep pockets and why shouldn’t they, as part of their living in NZ, be sent to the provinces to….”

          not all immigrants have deep pockets, many do indeed settle in the provinces and if you have no family connections ,school or other networks wouldn’t you find it preferable to restart in a foreign culture amongst a large group of others of similar background?

          whatever divisive finger pointing proponents of this “policy” try to use to justify it the fact remains it does nothing to solve the factors that created the problem.

          • Colonial Viper

            The physical reality is you cannot squeeze 30% to 40% of NZ’s population in 0.3% of the country’s land area.

            I wonder why this is so difficult to understand.

            • Pat

              its easy to understand….but if you have a laissez faire attitude then you don’t have to think about it.

            • te reo putake

              Huh? Isn’t that the case now? And Auckland is relatively sparsely populated compared to most of the world’s big cities. It’s just that we prefer houses and low rise apartments, rather than high density housing. That’ll probably have to change.

              • Pat

                even London is only around 15% of national population

                • Around 20%, but so what? CV seems to be saying that the current reality doesn’t exist. I reckon Auckland will only grow larger in population and area. Further, it seems obvious that an even larger percentage of NZ’s population will be Aucklanders. There are probably academic studies on this, but Auckland has over a third of the NZ population now and it’s own internal gravity will see that percentage rise. It might well be that within a generation it’ll have a population of 2-2.5 million, roughly half of our total population.

                  For me, the issue isn’t the size, it’s the infrastructure. More public housing, more public transport, more hospitals, schools etc.

                  • Ad

                    Hence the Unitary Plan debate at the moment.

                    Most capital-efficient response is density not sprawl, up not out.

                    Auckland will get to 2 million faster than NZ gets to 6 million. We’re already 1/3 of NZ.

                    Auckand is the best place for an immigrant family to start in Australasia, just so long as you have somewhere to stay.

                  • Pat

                    14% of UK or 17% England but so what?

                    ‘For me, the issue isn’t the size, it’s the infrastructure. More public housing, more public transport, more hospitals, schools etc.’

                    and you see no connection between the disproportionate growth and that lack?….why do you think that infrastructure has proven to be inadequate?

                    as my (and I’m sure your) grandmother wisely said….don’t put all your eggs in one basket

                    • I do see the connection, Pat. That’s why I wrote what I wrote. Auckland has a very low housing density and that is part of the problem. The lack of infrastructure is part of the problem. Lack of central government planning is part of the problem. The rest of NZ’s healthy disdain for the joint is part of the problem. I could go on, but I’m sure you get the point.

                  • Pat

                    is not Jafa bashing for the sake of it TRP (though that can be good sport)….there is a logical basis to be wary of having Auckland grow to large in proportion to the rest of the country.

                    there appear to be inbuilt structural downsides ….

                    “Yet the growth capacity of metro-regions should not be overestimated, as metro- regions are not always synonymous with success.
                    • A number of metro-regions lag behind the national average, including Berlin (Germany), Fukuoka (Japan), Lille (France), Naples (Italy) and Pittsburgh (US). Moreover, for many metro-regions, differences of output, productivity and employment levels from national averages are not so large. Large cities’ innovative capacity might also be overstated as patents are generally registered in large cities, while they might have been generated at research sites in other regions.
                    • Metro-regions concentrate large and persistent pockets of unemployment. One third of the 78 metro-regions have unemployment rates above the national average. Moreover, urban regions surprisingly feature lower activity rates than other types of regions (44.3% against 49.7% and 44.5% in intermediate and rural regions respectively in 2003).
                    • Exclusion and poverty in most OECD countries have become urban phenomena, not only in less-advanced metro-regions like Mexico City but also in cities that have faced strong industrial restructuring (Rotterdam, Lille, Detroit) as well as in the suburbs of some of the richest metro-regions (Paris, London). Socio-economic inequalities are common to all metro-regions. A particularly vulnerable portion of the metro-regions’ population are immigrants and their descendents, who tend to cluster in large cities. Many of them have lower skills but even skilled immigrants find it difficult to integrate into economic networks.
                    • Poverty and social exclusion have important costs including high levels of criminality (on average 30% higher in urban areas than the national level) and strong spatial polarisation (in ten OECD countries surveyed, 7% to 25% of the population live in distressed neighbourhoods, representing up to 10% of their national population). Deprived neighbourhoods often have lower access to public infrastructure and services, and feature lower levels of investment per capita than richer neighbourhoods.
                    In fact, metro-regions also have important negative externalities.
                    • Congestion costs are particularly prominent (e.g. traffic, air and water pollution, noise levels and degradation of green areas) in recently and rapidly developing metro- regions in OECD countries (e.g., Seoul, Istanbul), but also in such long-established major cities as Paris, Tokyo and London, and even in some parts of such less densely populated regions as Helsinki and Stockholm.
                    • Poor-quality infrastructure may also arise in some metro-regions because of high maintenance costs. This is most likely to be seen in areas with concentrations of social housing, or in areas where economic activities are associated with noise and other unwanted environmental effects.”


                    • Cheers, good research. I wonder if we need to look at similarly sized countries where one city dominates, such as maybe Peru, Nicaragua or the Scandinavian countries, and see how they balance the needs of the one big city and the rest of the country. There must be a sensible plan for growth/size/density somewhere in the world that could be adapted to our situation.

            • dv

              HUH CV

              TOKYO area 2,188 km² pop 17m
              Auckland 2,600/km2 pop 1.5m

  22. It seems like out of sight out of mind is their plan, and meanwhile forget the real drivers of this crisis, no need to look at that because too many making money.

  23. John shears 23

    Apaulla Benefit needs to take her own advice and “Shut it Sweety” or better still book a long trip on a cruise ship.
    I thought she was becoming a reasonable sort of polly for a Nat. but her latest outbursts show that she is really not minister material.

    • gnomic 23.1

      Paula is a dork. Always was, always will be. Just a useful idiot for the real players. Perhaps an element of quota on the female front. Yuss, we has women in the cabinet. Ministerial, nah.

  24. Observer Toke 24

    .Shame and Sham

    .This what the Hootons, the Farrars, the BMs and all the other Tory tax avoiders have been on about. They want the housing of the poor. They want it for their overseas friends – Asians, Britts, Americans, Canadians, Germans, Saudis.

    They want to kick the kiwi farmers off the land and give it to Asians, Britts, Americans, Canadians, Germans. To anybody – but not to Kiwis. Especially to foreigners who give serious money to John Key’s purse.

    Thousands and thousands of Non House Owners are going to be shunted out of Auckland by the cruel greed of John Key, Paula Bennett, and Judith Orivida Collins and Bill English.

    The Despicable Incompetent Gluttonous Ugly Tories.

  25. Jenny 25

    Benett is right there is no housing crisis. Never before have so much profit from housing flowed to bankers who forward the massive loans on the inflated speculative house prices. Never before have the speculators seen such huge capital gains.

    Never before have landlords and rack renters been able to charge exorbitant rents for terrible unhealthy hovels and even garages.

    Crisis, what crisis? For these people these are the best times ever.

    In fact they have even found a way to squeeze money out of the destitute and homeless by loading them up with massive debts which are paid up front to private moteliers, for scungy one room units. But which the poor have to pay back to WINZ for the rest of their lives.

    As Mike Hosking likes to say, “Happy days”.

  26. greywarshark 26

    Durango? in Colorado USA has been mentioned before on the blog relating to housing.
    Here is a piece about useful infill that has helped a Colorado city. The Council is trying useful initiatives, one is regularising illegal housing additions so they can be brought up to standard, and be used effectively.

    8:28 AM.As New Zealand wrangles with the solutions to more affordable housing, one city in Colorado has found its own solution.

  27. doc 27

    Sorry must have missed something, thought certain provinces were no go zones for beneficiaries due to low prospects for employment, also will Auckland eventually resemble a members only club ,Rattle your bling to get in. Around the back for the service entrance and lastly, Bugger off try down the road….

  28. save nz 28

    While a good idea for some (everything is cheaper outside of Auckland), how about moving the recent arrivals instead, to the provinces. Is it ethical to force the poor out?

    Just wondering why the locals are always the ones to have to give up their communities when wouldn’t it be more logical for the newbies to relocated out of Auckland?

    In the UK, employers give “London rates’ i.e. extra wages for those that work there as it costs more to work in London. Maybe this should be implemented in Auckland – can just see howls of anger from employers if they were forced to pay for this government mess. Nope instead taxpayer subsidies for accommodation for Auckland’s and new arrivals who vote National.

  29. Sabine 29

    well we can all breathe a sigh of relieve.

    the 5000$ are not for the homeless to leave to town, but for those that live in State Houses. You know.
    If they have jobs….hey here have 5 grand, that ought to make up for it.
    IF they have kids in school….here have 5 grand, that ought to make up for it, and just tell your kids to zip it if they get lippy.
    If they need hospitals or other services for ongoing issues, here have 5 grand that ought to cover it.

    This women is vile.


    Bennett’s interview came after she announced on Wednesday a plan to offer Aucklanders who needed housing $5000 to leave the city.

    Funding would be open to families living in Auckland state houses, she said, pointing out there were empty state houses and affordable rentals around the country which can house them.

    The voluntary scheme would cost up to $750,000 to relocate 150 families, depending on where they moved, while the maximum $5000 grant was aimed at state house tenants rather than the homeless. Quote End.

    Jobs? What fucking jobs? You want jobs to go with the housing? don’t poor people know that they can’t have all the nice things? 5000 grand. 5 fucking grand? This women has shits for brain, shits for a heart and is generally full of shit.

    • Karen 29.1

      Note she also says ‘up to $5000.’ This is a trick the Nats often use to make an offer seem better than it is (not that I think the $5000 is generous). So you leave your job, the kids have to change school, you lose the support of friends and family, and you go and live somewhere where there are few employment opportunities in exchange for some minimal amount to cover your immediate costs. What happens next?

      This article says there were 2500 empty state houses in Auckland but most aren’t ready for families to move into. Why not? The problems in Auckland haven’t just suddenly occurred. I think the real reason Paula wants state house tenants to move out of Auckland isn’t so they will be available for homeless but so that she can sell more of them off to the private sector.


      Maybe to some property speculator like the guy who sold this house for a tidy profit after owning it for less than 3 months.


      • gnomic 29.1.1

        Hmmm. The whole deal is bullshit. Only the braindead could come up with this crap.

        Anyone else noticed another sneaky little trick where the Natsis say “Woohoo, we are spending $200 million on some bullshit scheme or other”, most likely some social engineering to benefit the rentier class. But whatever it is, the money will be expended over the next five years or so and is in fact actually two-tenths of bugger all. Sounds good though.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Only the braindead could come up with this crap.

          Or people who think that they’re smart and are hiding hiding something from the rest of us. In other words, this is just a diversion.

  30. dave 30

    What is more concerning is we are at the start of automation drive where employment is going to be very unstable and the government doesnt seem to any idea how to cope with the urrent numbers of people .it is very worring at total lack of. Planning adout how society ia going to function in a high debt high cost low income enviroment we only just starting to see the fall out.


  31. linda 31

    To answer your question dave it doesn’t. The house of cards collapses

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