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Homeless coverage goes international

Written By: - Date published: 2:52 pm, May 17th, 2016 - 97 comments
Categories: class war, housing, national, poverty - Tags: , , ,

The Guardian has covered the Auckland homeless crisis:

New Zealand housing crisis forces hundreds to live in tents and garages

Property prices in Auckland have increased by nearly 80% in five years, leaving some families unable to buy or rent

Hundreds of families in Auckland are living in cars, garages and even a shipping container as a housing crisis fuelled by rising property prices forces low-income workers out of private rental accommodation. Charity groups have warned that, as the southern hemisphere winter approaches, most of the premises have no electricity, sewage or cooking facilities.

“This is not people who haven’t been trying. They have been trying very hard and still they’re failing,” said Campbell Roberts of The Salvation Army, who has worked in South Auckland for 25 years. “A few years ago people in this situation were largely unemployed or on very low-incomes. But consistently now we are finding people coming to us who are in work, and have their life together in other ways, but housing is alluding them.”

Auckland’s housing market is one of the most expensive in the world, with property prices increasing 77.5% over the last five years (this growth has now slowed), and the average house price fetching over NZ$940,000 (£440,000), according to CoreLogic, New Zealand.

Jenny Salesa, a Labour MP in the South Auckland suburb of Otara, says Maori and Pacific peoples are overwhelmingly bearing the brunt of Auckland’s housing crisis, and she has people coming to her office every day begging for help. “People are living in garages with ten family members and paying close to NZ$400 for the privilege,” said Salesa.

“People are ashamed their lives have come to this, and they try to hide. But you can tell which garages are occupied – there are curtains on the windows, small attempts to make it a home. And on the weekends, in the park, there can be up to fifty cars grouped together, with people sleeping in them.”

Worth repeating – fifty cars with people sleeping in them.

Salesa estimates nearly 50% of people asking for her help in finding a home are in paid employment, and many families have two parents working and are still unable to make ends meet.

So the working poor are now the working homeless. And we’re contemplating tax cuts. Brighter Future!

97 comments on “Homeless coverage goes international ”

  1. mary_a 1

    Yes, I read this. Sent to me by an overseas relative.

    NZ’s shame …

    • Julie mach 1.1

      Correction- John Key the Sly Minister Jackal -HIS Shame!
      He has been systematically disembowelling our country since the Greedy Elected him.

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    In feudal times the lords of the land had a responsibility to ensure that their serfs were properly housed and fed.

    Ditto for the days of the American slave plantations.

    In these improved modern ages that’s not even required.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      Ditto for the days of the American slave plantations.

      Actually, they didn’t. There were no rules about the ownership of slaves in the US and, as Adam Smith points out in the Wealth of Nations, the way that they were treated was absolutely atrocious.

      It’s a pattern that’s repeated throughout history. Ownership tends to bring about the worst treatment of the thing owned rather than the best treatment that the economists and National types say it brings about.

      • Chris 2.1.1

        And part and parcel of that is the increased difficulty of being able to even convey this to the wider public in any meaningful way. The AAAP must be applauded for achieving this. No mean feat these days unfortunately.

    • vto 2.2

      That is exactly why it is often pointed out it is cheaper today for an employer to pay minimum wage than it is to keep a slave..

      minimum wage is cheaper than a slave

      Fuck the National Party and all its members – what a bunch of c#@&s

  3. esoteric pineapples 3

    Without mass house building, a strong capital gains tax and most importantly a ban on foreigners buying NZ property this speculative market has no where to go but up – with unlimited funds overseas acting as the wind beneath its wings.

    Auckland will become a city with half its houses empty or with very few inhabitants and the other half crammed to the max.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      Need strong limits on what banks can lend on a house as well, to prevent house price inflation ping pong.

      • mikes 3.1.1

        And a ban on companies owning residential property. The only reason a company would own a residential property is to avoid/evade tax. If a real person’s name is down as the owner of the property it is much easier to keep track of.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.2


    • b waghorn 3.3

      Another there term of this government and we will have slums and shanty towns on the margins of Auckland

  4. Bill 4

    So according to Campbell Roberts of The Salvation Army, homelessness is kind of okay as long as it’s only people who fit a homeless stereotype that are homeless. Seriously, what the fuck was going on in his head that he could say –

    “This is not people who haven’t been trying. They have been trying very hard and still they’re failing,” said Campbell Roberts of The Salvation Army, who has worked in South Auckland for 25 years. “A few years ago people in this situation were largely unemployed or on very low-incomes. But consistently now we are finding people coming to us who are in work, and have their life together in other ways, but housing is alluding them.”

    Which reads to me as….

    So, it used to be if you were homeless it was because you were …what?…lazy? Whatever, they didn’t have their shit together and they were failures and well, nobody cares too much about failures. They should have tried harder. But they didn’t try harder and that was why they were unemployed or doing low paid jobs and….yeah, fuckem. Now though…now we have the deserving poor winding up homeless, and well….that’s a different story. Now the situation isn’t acceptable – nosiree, it’s not!

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Well, you could read it that way but my pick is that he’s deliberately informing an otherwise ignorant middle class NZ of the severe level of economic rot that has set in underneath them.

      • weka 4.1.1

        And it’s rising.

        Could also be that he’s using language to speak to a certain audience but he does use some phrasing. I wonder how a house eludes someone. Like the house is the agent in all this.

      • jcuknz 4.1.2

        +1 CV

      • Bill 4.1.3

        Tell me how he’s not saying that a certain amount of homelessness is ‘normal’ or okay – as long as it’s confined to those people whose state of homelessness is to be considered (by people like him) an acceptable situation…an understandable situation…a self inflicted situation, because they are (at least in Mr Roberts’ world view) feckless, or addicts, or variously and otherwise those consigned to the pigeon hole marked ‘Society’s Detritus’?

        • Colonial Viper

          well, it is capitalism, so a certain amount of homelessness and destitution is “normal”…

        • Gabby

          ‘A few years ago people in this situation were largely unemployed or on very low-incomes, so it served them right.’
          That’s what he said, eh Bill.

    • McFlock 4.2

      Concern for the “deserving poor” are the low hanging fruit for social assistance agencies. A bit like how pandas and elephants get the international news when they’re endangered, but frogs and insects don’t get so much.

      On the one hand it gets some attention to the problem. On the other hand, it reinforces the prejudices.

    • b waghorn 4.3

      Oh ffs Bill the guys on your side , this is why people mock the left.

      • Bill 4.3.1

        No. The guy’s not on my side. He supplies a reasonable example of the Salvation Army’s institutional mentality or reasoning. And it’s deeply conservative, disabling and disempowering.

        edit. McFlock’s comment above kind of puts it in a nutshell.

        • b waghorn

          When homeless people were mainly made up of the mentally ill and addicted did the sallies turn a blind I to them or did they help?

          • Bill

            Not, for example, if there was a whiff of alcohol on them. Not, for example, when they were unionists getting hounded by the state at the turn of the 20thC. Not, for example, if they were pregnant young women.

            Those falling into the first category got and still get turned away.
            Those falling into the second were often variously run out of town, jailed, hanged or exiled.
            Those falling into the third category had every vestige of dignity stripped from them and had to endure years of systemic, cruel shame being meted out while they remained incarcerated in Salvation Army ‘mother and baby’ homes.

    • Gabby 4.4

      It reads to me as, it used to be that having a job meant affording a home. Now, not so much.

      • Rosemary McDonald 4.4.1

        “It reads to me as, it used to be that having a job meant affording a home. Now, not so much.”

        Me too.

        Let’s not look a “blast the 100% pure image out of the water opportunity” in the mouth ….?

        Another dirty little secret outed.

    • mikes 4.5

      I would say he’s pointing out that it used to be people with little or no income who were homeless but now it’s more and more of those who are earning a bit more.

    • Irascible 4.6

      He is saying: Once those were living in garages and in the conditions reported were those who were unemployed or on very low incomes, not necessarily fully employed, through no fault of their own Now we’re seeing the working poor being reduced to living in the slum conditions revealed. The working poor are those in full time employment but not earning enough to meet the demands of rent, utilities and food.
      He is not condemning either group.

  5. mary_a 5

    And here is NatzKEY gobshite Larry Williams’ solution. Let’s build some high rise ghettos!!!


    • tc 5.1

      Another enabler of the neoliberal con job along with all the other ZB red necks trying to pass themselves off as ‘reasonable’.

  6. johnm 6

    An in your face indictment of Neoliberalism and the greed society whose main standard bearer is Key. So, you asked for it you got it: a total massive failure of the political system to care for their fellow kiwis, they didn’t because they are all corrupt self aggrandising rubbish. It’s so far gone I wonder why I bother any more. NZers have been told this for decades: they still vote them in. !?:-(

    • AmaKiwi 6.1

      “Well actually, at the end of the day, I’m comfortable with the Guardian article ’cause whatever those socialist crazies say is the opposite of what I would ever think of doing.”

      “If the Wall Street Journal had written it, I might consider it. Maybe.”

      “Nah, just kidding.”

  7. AsleepWhileWalking 7

    Max Key shares a post on the housing market. Gets sarcastic and nasty replies.


    • b waghorn 7.1

      Interesting , maybe there is hope for young Max.

      • ropata 7.1.1

        because he laughs at people living in cars / tents / garages / rough ?

        • b waghorn

          Oh shit that’s embarrassing I thought he wrote the bit about destroying the housing market. Must pay more attention.

          • North

            I am absolutely delighted that Key Jnr has mouthed off. It will add to a growing consciousness about daddy and activate many votes against daddy which otherwise might not ever be cast.

            Shitty little Barbara Hutton punk he is. You wouldn’t be well advised to go strutting South Aux, Maxi. The place where a homeless child is only one at most two steps removed from everyone living there.


          • ropata

            it was a good tweet and i shared it too, but didn’t make a joke about it like Mr. Maximillian Key

    • tc 7.2

      The apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree except it lacks decades of training and experience in masking real agendas with slippery con artist techniques.

      Carry on max and show everyone what you’re really thinking, it suits you sir.

      Hope the msm shills try and spin this as unwarranted abuse for a diversion to draw attention to it.

  8. jcuknz 8

    I bawk at “even a container.
    So long as this useless government, instead of insisting on nice three bedroom houses with all mod coms* do not take up the container concept with several units clustered around a central abolutions block. I spent my first three months of National Service in the Uk living in a ‘spider’ … six dormitaries each housing twenty of us around a central block.
    Seems perhaps we need Judith Collins to put a bomb under housing and make some progress .. didn’t she suggest that to house prisoners? A modification for homeless singles and families should be easy to organise and build…. in the past years I have seen several suggestion for container holiday homes ….. so long as they are insulated and double glazed windows.
    A lot better than bridge, garage or plain container.

    * and letting builders build four bedroom luxury homes because that is where the profit is … shame on Fletchers for saying building prefab, whatever, would be uneconomical. But do National have a social conscience?…. yeah right a Tui.

  9. jcuknz 9

    Stupid bloddy site stopping me posting ……

    [Not sure what happened there to delay the original comment, but I’ve removed the duplicate. TRP]

  10. Daveosaurus 10

    Peasants: We have no bread.
    Marie Antoinette: Let them eat cake.

    Peasants: We have no shelter.
    John Key: Let them stay in motels.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      Dunno whether to laugh or cry

    • Sabine 10.2

      can i steal that 🙂

      • Daveosaurus 10.2.1

        My bit isn’t copyright, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s been dead since 1778 (eleven years before the French revolution, so how he managed to put his words in Marie Antoinette’s mouth is anyone’s guess), so go for it.

    • ropata 10.3

      I interpreted JK’s comment the other day to mean that homeless people ought to camp out in the WINZ office and carpark???

      • dave 10.3.1

        i have a better idea

        homeless need to park there cars on john keys street nice wide verges for the tents there also nice park area at the end of his road
        there idea for campaign flyer’s with maps address and location of john keys house for the homeless iam sure john key will welcome his new neighbors lets take it futhier and target all natz mps

        • ropata

          +1 yep. Seems the only way to make MPs do their job is to surround Parliament like they did in Iceland

        • North

          Reminds me of when at the height of the Dawn Raids the Polynesian Panthers I think did a dawn raid on the house of Bill Birch or maybe it was George Gair, at about 4.30 in the morning. Megaphones, powerful lights. Whichever Tory it was was just mortified. “How dare they……at this hour !!!”

          Reckon it would be in order. For the War on The Poor and the hatred and the libels and the demonisations. And the front pages of The Guardian and the Washington Post.

        • AmaKiwi

          @ Dave

          “homeless need to park there cars on john key’s street”

          Nice idea BUT we have to do it. People in dire poverty do not have the fight in them. It’s OUR job to do it with them.

          • WILD KATIPO

            THAT idea… has merit.

            And it could be organised easily enough. It could be done on a rotational basis for two weeks or more outside of every Nat MP’s residence . Even as has been said… in the parks nearby. Let them see it , let them feel it.

            Tangible and proactive .

            A great big fat long line of cars right outside National party MP’s and the PM’s residences. One night a week or more if you are so inclined. Park up, bring your sleeping bag and your alarm clocks. Think of it as similar to the Occupy movement.

            Something for University students, Unionists , relatives of people in those situations, Poverty Action groups, and any and all concerned and angry citizens. Including those thinking of their children’s and grandchildren’s futures in this country.

            And John Campbell doing interviews of people who have to live rough as well as those who are demonstrating. Then have that flicked to The Guardian in the UK.

            Its time to hammer the far right.

            These globalist neo liberals want to play rough ?

            Lets give em rough by sleeping rough.

            Sleep rough for one night a week.

            • The lost sheep

              These globalist neo liberals want to play rough ?

              Yay sock it to them Kat!
              Look fwd to reading about your ‘sleep rough’ hammering!

              Where will you be doing yer first one? (Just so i know how to tell it’s you by the media coverage)

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Were you also a nasty sneering piece of shit when you voted Labour?

                • The lost sheep

                  That’s rich. Coming from someone whose sole contribution to this blog is scorn and abuse.
                  It’s pricks like you that made me stop voting Labour. I’m not the only one obviously. With people like you around Labour just ain’t a fun place to be anymore.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    A Green voter turned you into a sneering treacherous Quisling? Boo hoo.

                  • vto

                    “With people like you around Labour just ain’t a fun place to be anymore.” ….

                    with people like you around New Zealand just aint a fun place to be anymore.

                    It is people like you and National Party members who vote for Key and his ilk and principles who are the scum of the country, voting in and maintaining policies which lead to the likes of the homeless….

                    shame on you piece of shit

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Well said vto.

                      They know it too: hence the sneering at their betters.

                    • jcuknz

                      Unfortunately it is language like yours both here and on Kiwiblog which put sensible people off completely … I am reminded of school humour … “You must be one to know such words” … scum etc.
                      Forget the pointless war on John Key and stay with the problems which are crying out to be fixed instead of miniscue tax-cuts.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke


                      Just to be clear, is it my disgust at Sheep’s nasty sneering or the use of the word ‘shit’ that makes my comments a war on the Prime Minister?

            • Julie mach

              Excellent idea!! Start a fb group with this idea 🙂

  11. dave 11

    good misery shouldn’t be hidden new zealand dirty little secrets should see daylight

  12. Treetop 12

    A short while ago on RNZ a mother with an 8 week old, 3 year old and a 7 or 8 year old will be tufted out of a motel on Monday. Think $1600 has been loaned by W&I for a 2 week stay in a motel which has to be repaid. Not sure if the same woman, but the next available appointment is 30 May to see W&I for housing assistance. I thought a person had to be seen within 24 hours in an emergency.

    Is living in a car with children not an emergency?

    What a bad start in life for a young baby on many levels. It offends me that the PM allows families with small children to not have stable affordable accommodation. There is no EXCUSE that I am prepared to listen to from the government for causing this type of situation again and again.

    It is an insult to everyone who requires emergency accommodation that extra funding will not be available until September (the 41 million package and a week in a motel which does not have to be paid back, the criteria for this has not been seen by me yet).

    Housing New Zealand is BROKEN, it does not do what it is there for.

    I am very ashamed to be a New Zealander.

    • AmaKiwi 12.1

      @ Treetop

      “Housing New Zealand is BROKEN”

      No, they are following orders, like paying a $118 million dividend to the government.

      Their boss is to blame, not those trying to do a job their boss wants them to fail at.

  13. logie97 13

    Have heard it said that there are property owners in Auckland who have purchased and “banked” lots of houses which are now unoccupied – presumably speculators. Well perhaps it’s time WINZ or Housing Corp started identifying these properties and advising the owners that they will be sending prospective tenants around.

    • Treetop 13.1

      At least these empty houses would do some good were squatters to occupy them. I would start with the empty HNZ properties.

      • Treetop 13.1.1

        There is no way of telling if a HNZ dwelling is P contaminated.

        Breaking and entering is an offence. It would be awful were police cells to be filled up with squatters and families separated.

    • AmaKiwi 13.2


      Another suggestion. How about any house that is unoccupied for 3 months shall be seized and made government property!

  14. As it happens, I’ve got a car for sale on TradeMe. After four weeks, I still haven’t managed to sell it. Should I switch the listing to the real estate section?

    • Pat 14.1

      drop a line to Nick….he may have a use for it in one of his special housing areas

    • ropata 14.2

      who knows, cars could be the next speculative bubble. most of them are parked up doing nothing and housed better than a lot of people.

      NatCorp™ priority #1 is a billion $$$ for new motorways so trucks can go faster. Housing the poor? Sorry, must have misplaced that policy

  15. Treetop 15

    Correction turfed.

  16. Whateva next? 16

    Perhaps Mr. Key will listen to the overseas media more than he will NZ? He spends so much time elsewhere, I think it’s worth a shot

    • AmaKiwi 16.1

      @ Whateva next?

      “Perhaps Mr. Key will listen to the overseas media”

      No, he won’t. One of characteristics of highly successful people is that they don’t care what others think. They are single minded.

      The founder and owner of iTeka furniture is one of the wealthiest people in the world. He lives in a rather ordinary house and buys most of his clothes at second hand shops! Warren Buffett is similar (1st or 2nd wealthiest American).

      Empathy is not a stopping place on the road to riches or power.

      • whateva next? 16.1.1

        he still likes to look cool in front of the big guys though….maybe he thinks this is cool?

  17. John 17

    Vote National for a brighter future they said in 2008 and 2011 and then in 2014 vote National because we are working for you. All bluff and bullshit. What will their line be in 2017. National working for the 1%ers and stuff the rest. Instead of tax cuts fix the housing, health, education and infrastructure problems etc etc.
    Come on Labour lets be hearing you

  18. Anne 18

    National’s strategists are hastily stitching together a new housing initiative as we speak. It will be delivered in the Budget next week and it will sound impressive. But in reality it will only be superficially beneficial and things will not improve. Paula Bennett, who has been refusing interviews on the subject, will front on what she will be wrapping around (a favourite, meaningless expression of hers) the new policy. It will be hailed by the MSM as a welcome new initiative and the Nat’s weekly focus groups will accordingly record a change in direction in the govt’s favour.

    • AmaKiwi 18.1

      @ Anne

      I hope and pray our MSM reporters are presently researching ways to increase social housing rapidly and economically. There are plenty of options.

      The reporters know what the government will say. Is it too much to expect them to be ready with tough questions?

    • Treetop 18.2

      Not quick enough for the 8 week old baby I mention above at 12.

      Key and his focus group need to go and hold the baby and put themselves in the families shoes and ask themselves how to prevent a mother from having to be burdened with a $1600 preventable expense?

  19. Just Me 19

    We here in NZ have a person(called John Key)who would much rather visit a crumpet factory than a homeless area. Next Key will be saying about the homeless of “Well let them eat cake…”

    We are now having a ‘carrot’ dangled in front of us with Key promising(yeah right)tax cuts next year. The thing about a Key ‘promise’ is it holds absolutely no volume or intention(by Key)to see it through. I can say we have had on the receiving end of so many broken promises by John Key that we must take whatever he promises prior to an election with a punch of salt.

    And so Key will claim the economy is doing oh so well whilst in reality(not on toilet free Planet Key where he firmly resides) people are living in difficulty. When people have to live and survive in vehicles then something has gone seriously wrong with this country over the past 7 1/2 years.

    I am sure Bill English will be applauded by Key & co for a “Budget Surplus” of say $345million. About the same amount a Chinese businessman spent at the Skycity casino over a long period of time. And so whilst Key & Co allow in the rich into NZ with no questions asked they have conveniently and probably deliberately forgotten about the poor outside of electin time.

  20. vto 20

    Why are National Party people so miserable?

    Why do they not care for their neighbours?

    I have come to the conclusion that National Party members are nasty horrible bastards who deserve no respect, no kudos, no nothing. They deserve to be shat on the head and pushed out of the community.

    • Treetop 20.1

      The next election cannot come soon enough for me.

    • Bob 20.2

      “Why do they not care for their neighbours?”
      That’s the problem, they do care for their neighbours, I bet all of their neighbours properties have close to doubled in price while they have been in power and the neighbours are ecstatic.

      The issue is, their aren’t enough Nats living in the areas that are being most effected by their (and Auckland City Council’s) lack of urgency/lack of any sort of coherent plan.
      Something needed to be done 3 or 4 years ago, it wasn’t, I now feel the left will fall into power at the next election on the back of record low voter turnout (no-one will want the Nats, and at this point no-one seems to want Labour or the Greens either). I just hope Labour manage to have some policy together to address the issues in time for the next election!

    • I have been saying this about Conservative(National) since I was 14yrs old and now I’m 85 . My conclusion like the Lefties song”When will they ever learn .

  21. Plan B 21


    Abolish Auckland city limits – Labour

    Labour seems to be working it out. Great work.

    • Gabby 21.1

      How does that work re the responsibilities of neighbouring local bodies?

    • McFlock 21.2

      Hah, I think you meant this recent Brian Rudman article rather than the announcement that rod and rachel had split in 2000.

      Last 4 digits of the objectid had dropped off your link 🙂

    • Kiwiri 21.3

      Such a cunning plan. Genius from Labour’s most effective shadow minister!
      Slow, surely and steadily extend Auckland to 268,021 sq km and problems will be solved. Pooofff!
      At the same time, replace Zeal with Auck and we’ll have a new name for the country.

  22. FiFi50 22

    We can get people into homes without the pesky banks but it needs the majority of the public on board and ready to help. No one would ever need to borrow for a house from the bank again only the rich because they can afford it.

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