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Hidden away

Written By: - Date published: 9:51 am, April 11th, 2012 - 27 comments
Categories: housing, public services - Tags:

Hidden away at the end of this story, hidden away out of most media view, hidden away from Housing New Zealand, and from society… ordinary people being shafted by National’s cuts.

Housing NZ offices getting shut (with the workers not even allowed to attend their own farewells), and contact points being lost. People still get their threat letters from Housing NZ – probably more so for the squeeze – but now have nowhere to take them to be dealt with by a person.

Michael Ofanoa, 35, a solo father of two who came to the Wiri office yesterday to file an income statement and supporting documents, said he needed to get the documents to Housing NZ urgently, otherwise the agency would raise his rent to market rental. He was told to try the Manurewa office.

“I’ve got a car but no warrant and no registration. I’ll go home and get my bike,” he said.

Rotorua tenant Kathy Hillman-Te Rupe, 39, received a letter saying her rent would go up from $50 a week to the market rental of $232 from tomorrow unless she provided documents proving that she had changed her surname after fleeing to a women’s refuge.

She sent the documents by mail yesterday, but was worried they might not arrive in time.

Simple, low cost services, like lending people the tools to fix their own houses – saving Housing NZ on repairs – shut down.

While the cuts go on, with 162 useful employees made redundant, and front line staff being lost, they spend $30,000 to send the chief executive to a five-day leadership course in London.  They sent 6 other senior staffers too.  What did they learn?  How to sack people nicely?  How to hid behind a phone-line when people services are needed?  Particularly for people who can’t afford a phone…

Maybe they learnt to double their spending on consultants?  $20 million last year, compared to $10 million when Labour left office…


27 comments on “Hidden away”

  1. cardassian 1

    That extra $10,000,000 spent on consultants could of paid those 162 staff a $61,000 salary each.
    Shame this government doesn’t care about people.

  2. ghostwhowalksnz 2

    So leadership can be learned in 5 days

    Who knew?

    • Akldnut 2.1

      I could’ve told them how to sack someone nicely for free.

      “er… mate we’ve run out of work descriptions to give you so unfortunately you won’t have a job as of next month, you won’t be needed here anymore but to show you how nice we are here’s 30K to take a few mates on a 5 day junket, it’s on us mate seriously, No, No I insist you go .”

  3. KeepOurAssetsDon'tSell. 3

    My Opinion this National government have contempt for poorer New Zealanders (They just aren’t on the radar except as a nuisance). They ( The Nats) live in a NeoLiberal dreamworld up in their overpaid ivory towers where they feel more kinship for the London Brit neoLiberal disaster ( has led to riots-the financial apartheid practised there) than ordinary common and struggling kiwis. Led by Glam Boy Shonkey who belongs on the front of a woman’s magazine more than in a PM’s role.

  4. cin77 4

    So when do the poor people start rioting?

    • aerobubble 4.1

      They don’t if you design the suburbs to keep people from engaging with each other, and design the tax system to put everyone at considerable cost of doing business (or barter) with fellow citizens without a gatekeeper who collects taxes for the richest to avoid. This however presents the problem when resources run low and pollution, because the structure of surburbs is energy and resource intense – the cost of government intervention into the private social life of citizens. You know the old saying, beware people bearing gifts, government rightly tackled ghettos, but the cost was our collective social souls.

  5. Robby 5

    next elections cannot happen soon enough

    • to late for the next elections, this bunch of crooks will have asset stripped NZ taxpayer of everything, there will be no going back.

      Have you noticed Labour is not up in arms about any of these changes and is so silent as an opposition that they seem to be saying “if we win next election we will just carry on with things as they are”.

      Max keiser was right Channel RT97 to quote him ” In the 30’s we had gangsters, now we have Banksters” but they are doing the same thing. But they are doing the same thing. He is so right.

  6. just saying 6

    It’s straight out cruelty.

    The housing corp cuts concern me because I fear many of my neighbours, mainly the working poor with young children, are to be for the chop. It’s about 70 percent state houses round my way, but while it’s not quite the Devonport naval base, there are great views close to town, with sun and and an adjoining nature reserve. Housing Corp has been around repainting state houses inside and out, as well as doing all kinds of other work on my neighbours houses, every week since December last year.

    I fear their motives aren’t honourable, and many good people may be made homeless.

  7. Sam Hill 7

    Housing – The biggest crisis facing New Zealanders.

  8. Treetop 8

    The shutting of housing NZ offices is consistent with Housing NZ’s dense housing model which will create social problems. Two main HNZ call centres where there are faceless people who may not connect well culturally, empathically to unwell/disabled people and procrastinate when there is an emergency is a step backwards.

    • aerobubble 8.1

      People live very good happy lives in more intensive housing (when done right). The problem is government has intervened into the housing market by allowing sprawl to create scarcity for those who want inner city (non-car lifestyles and living). We talk a lot about tech hubs, where people come together to create economies of scale around people with skills, it can’t happen in NZ if the landscape is sprawling and people don’t butt heads (and also don’t have the spare time). NZ work too much, live to far from work, and pay too much indirect taxation due to government neo-liberal monolithism.

      • Treetop 8.1.1

        … (when done right).

        I have lived in a unit complex for 11 years, only my bedroom is attached to another unit. I am dependent on how hard the people next door close their hollow front door as it causes the front bedroom wall to shake and the door echoes loudly, (having two wardrobes and the hot water/linen cupboard along next doors door is a fault in the construction of the units). A meter from the end of my bed is an adjoining wall (there is concrete inbetween) and next doors TV connection behind the wall. If the TV is too loud or people are speaking too loud I am kept up. A bedroom next door faces my backyard along side my bedroom and when someone has a conversation in either bedroom the other unit can hear them. (One neighbour used to snore loudly and behind the snorer’s bedroom wall is a bedroom of another unit and they also hear any noise from that bedroom). I hear less noise from my front bedroom than I do from a bedroom next door. Switching bedrooms is not an option as I live on a medium to high noise street.

        I have also lived in HNZ units for almost 4 years and noise was heard when people walked up the stairs, another lady used to hear her neighbour ramaging through her wardrobe every night.

        This is the type of social problem which dense housing causes, however there is jib solutions and hush glass which would reduce the noise level by 60%. The government is broke and I cannot see them paying for hush glass or gib solutions.

        I am not the person making the noise, I allow stereo one night a week and if the door gets slammed after 10 pm or the TV is keeping me up I respond, (I have a very noisey washing machine which I can be put on at 6.30 am or my alarm clock which does not switch off unless switched off and I could burn the breakfast which would set off the smoke detector.

        People on a low income have limited choice. Building legislation is required to reduce social housing problems. Any reasonable person expects to have control over noise heard in their home.

        My housing is sweet compared to the situation that a lot of people in Christchurch are in.

        • jingyang

          No disrepect intended to you Treetop – but we can we stop repeating the propanganda that “the government is broke”?

          The govenrment is NOT “broke”, it just has completely f%^%d spending priorities.

  9. In the two people in the comments – can I asked how long it took from the time HC sent them letters outlining their requirements to this panic stage.?
    Surely it was more than a couple of days as expressed here ?

    • fender 9.1

      “Surely it was more than a couple of days as expressed here ?”

      Oh no doubt you are correct, after all everyone knows that when you cull staff the service magiclly improves.

    • North 9.2

      Fortran…….IF the householder sat around for too long…….. WE don’t know that but clearly you’ve pleased yourself that that’s the story, which invigorates you to launch off into stunningly stupid, through all seasons, apologism for Key’s contempt for the poor.

      How right was Hone Harawira when he coined the phrase “smiling assassin” ! The exponentially increasing injustice in this society will have its price. And when that happens please don’t grizzle. You determinedly applaud the setting up of the conditions to spark the unrest and you and your ilk will carry the principal blame for it.

      You can kick a dog for so long…….

    • Reagan Cline 9.3

      Fortran, please try and put yourself in their shoes.
      You read novels and look at movies, you know how to identify with characters in fictional stories. Out of the blue an official letter from Housing New Zealand – fear and anxiety, who to turn to ? Ignore it, it will go away, something will happen, don’t want to deal with this ! – ever reacted like that Fortran ?
      I take it you assume that people share your concept of time. They don’t – your idea of time, planning ahead, diarying things, being proactive requires years of intense cultural conditioning (my opinion, but I’m sure I could find anthropoloigal and sociological studies to support this).
      Some people in NZ have a very different culture to yours and because your culture prevails they have trouble adapting. They are your people Fortran. Just as yours are theirs.
      A good government and housing corp staff worth their pay would recognise this and with suitable humility act on it.

  10. mike e 10

    all the cuts made so far in govt spending have only saved $ 20 million.
    This figure does not include the cost of redundancies or the cost of consultants nacts mates .
    This cost of over $500 million is being ignored by National and the main stream media

    • aerobubble 10.1

      Look National will return to fiscal neutrality just before Labour wins power and suddenly inherits a huge wad of hidden debt. For example, children bonding with their parents would decrease the social costs of having more sociopaths. Funny how Labour are suggesting the parental leave can actually come in when National predict it will reach fiscal neutrality, and provide a large debt for labour to deal with but that would mean National losing face in parliament now (and there are better ways to putting debt on Labour).

    • Colonial Viper 10.2

      $20M savings and $500M costs?

      Whats the problem? National’s initiatives should pay for themselves in…oh, 25 years.

  11. graham hooper 11

    show your dissaproval of national on 28th april and march up queen st in auckland 3pm start so be there by 2.30 ….

  12. Shona 12

    Simon Collins is still doing his job as a journalist.
    Probably the last real one left at the Herald.

  13. millsy 13

    Still reckon that the changes to HNZ are to give private landlords free range to put their rents up. Nothing more really.

    The situation in Christchurch should be a warning to everyone….

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