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Housing Band Aids

Written By: - Date published: 9:54 am, May 26th, 2018 - 54 comments
Categories: class, families, housing, Social issues - Tags: , , , ,

The homeless are not nameless faceless nobodies, they’re babies, children, women and men all clamouring for a place to call home. A place where they can put down roots and establish a sense of belonging within their local communities. They’re not all the stereotype that is portrayed in media stories, they’re people who have been forced into hardship, debt and homelessness for a variety of reasons.

This is a sector I know well, a sector where I have had to break down the perceptions of social service providers and landlords alike. Where much of my work has been just as much about negotiating and challenging the stereotypical thinking and attitudes of  the ‘helping’ professionals as it is about convincing landlords to give this or that person a shot, despite bad debt and tenancy history. In my experience discrimination is rife in the rental industry and letting agencies are a waste of time.

Transitional housing is not a fix, it is nothing more than a holding tank, where families get to live in accommodation for up to 12 weeks, paying 25 percent of their income on rent, while looking for other housing.

Transitional providers are contracted by government to support these families in that journey, a journey I liken to a conveyor belt of next, next and next. There’s no end in sight at this stage of the game and those transitional housing contracts look set to go on and on, presenting an ever expanding façade that someone, somewhere, is addressing the homelessness ‘problem’. At this stage we’re simply shifting the ‘problem’ around and transitional housing providers are actually removing rental houses from the market to provide a short-term fix.

Some providers may argue that they’re making progress, and that may be so, but progress in what? How can progress be made when there are more and more families lining up for a home? When you’re housing one family, another’s being made homeless somewhere else because they could not afford the rent, because the landlord increased the rent or simply decided they no longer want you in their house.

If transitional housing providers are removing properties from the market, one has to wonder what is happening to the families who would have otherwise been able to access those properties on a longer term basis. In some cases, I wonder if the competition created by providers is impacting on rental prices (I know of some cases of landlords hiking the rent when in negotiations with providers).  I am also aware of instances where people viewing houses have ended up in ‘auction’ style negotiations with landlords using competition to pit desperate would be renters against one another.

Meanwhile, parents (generally mothers in my experience), their babies and children are left in a constant state of flux and worry about where they’re going to live next. A 12 week reprieve in a house is better than a motel (unless you’re one of the unlucky ones ending up in motel style transitional housing). The stressors of living in motel style accommodation is real and quite daunting for parents having to keep children quiet, where there’s nowhere safe to play, mum or dad cannot get a break and kitchen/laundry facilities make the living more difficult and more expensive for already cash strapped families. Not to mention the full-time job of keeping bored kids, in a cramped space, quiet out of fear they’ll upset someone and end up with nowhere to go.

While the main problem is homelessness due to an increasing population and decreasing rental housing supply, there is an assumption inherent in the whole transitional housing scheme. That assumption is that the people in need of housing also need ‘fixed’ in some way. If I had more time I could provide example  after example of how the housing problem is being individualised so that the onus is on ‘fixing’ flawed homeless families and implies they are somehow to blame for the situation. I suppose if nothing else, this assumption provides extra funding to the providers and keeps a few more of them employed, while little is being done to address the more serious problem of poverty.

54 comments on “Housing Band Aids”

  1. David Mac 1

    I think that’s a good post koreropono, thank-you. Your illumination is accurate, reading it leads me to wonder: What on earth do we do about it? I can’t see many solutions beyond the Govt buying and building houses.

    Ricky Houghton is doing some interesting things in the Far North. It appears his program is getting families into homes of their own and ultimately saving the taxpayer money at the same time.

    Where do you see timely, cost effective solutions korero?

  2. saveNZ 2

    I think if they want to address it your sentence sums it up.

    “While the main problem is homelessness due to an increasing population and decreasing rental housing supply”.

    The increasing population is deliberate it’s from immigration. Essentially someone somewhere (and in mostly was the National party), decided it was more important to give a home to someone from overseas to work for $16p/h or someone that could bring in some money and buy a business or property, than employ somebody who already lived here to work here or buy a business or property.

    Then we have a rip off system of building where immigration is an essential part of the system to drive down conditions and quality, a dysfunctional neoliberal council operating under COO’s, that have been selling off social housing for 30 years (John banks sold off a lot of Auckland housing when he was mayor).

    Then everything to do with property is going up. Rates for example up and probably $50 from every person’s rent will go straight to the council in rates. Insurance has gone up and is about double what it used to be. Insulation and smoke alarms while I agree with in most cases, will be driving up the prices. There is a plethora of ‘new businesses’ for landlords checking smoke alarms and installing P meters all of which are driving up the prices.

    Costs of repairs, plumbers, electricians and builders are through the roof, not on the wages but by things like sending two people at a time to bill double and then having 500% mark ups on the materials and then the quality is so poor, they don’t fix it.

    Then there is the costs of the unregulated rental agencies and so forth.

    Then satellite families and owner occupied businesses claiming all the allowances for accomodation and family credits due to creative accounting but living in million dollar houses and driving a Mercedes and sending their kids to private schools.

    There was a net gain of 60,000 people into NZ just last year. That is a lot of people to house and the cost of housing vs the amount of wages and the cost of just maintaining a property, let alone when you add in mortgage payments, just does not add up into an affordable rental situation.

    There are fewer rental properties because more people are moving to NZ and buying them and either live in them themselves or have family members living in them or friends living there or unoccupied (and this can be unoccupied due to p, waiting for council consent to develop and so forth as well as straight out ‘gold brick’ investments).

  3. Bill 3

    The homeless are…nearly a full 1% of NZ’s population. (0.94%)

    The next nearest rate I can find in the OECD is the Czech Republic at 0.65% of the population. (pdf)

    I can’t see how a management strategy built around “shunting” is ever going to work when we’re talking about over 41 000 people.

    And obviously, building so-called “affordable” houses for first time buyers, when we’re looking at over 41 000 people who will likely never buy a house, doesn’t do anything on the homeless front bar provide a nod and a wink to “trickle down” theory.

    And 1600 state houses per year? That’s a lot of years at current levels of homelessness for people to wait around and die in.

    Where’s the requisitioning of empty residential properties…the compulsory purchasing and conversion of suitable, empty commercial properties… the squatters rights…the life long tenancies with a legislative cap on rent levels in the private sector?

    • Antoine 3.1

      > Where’s the requisitioning of empty residential properties…the compulsory purchasing and conversion of suitable, empty commercial properties… the squatters rights…the life long tenancies with a legislative cap on rent levels in the private sector?

      Those things would alarm property owners and also undermine business confidence

      A.

      • adam 3.1.1

        Quick sicken to reading your apologist comment Antoine. What next don’t do anything because business knows better. Well we are in this situation, so obviously not ah.

        The liberal ideologies are going to be out in force on this one.

    • Barfly 3.2

      33000 empty houses in Auckland at the last census(?) – sure a portion aren’t ghost houses but I wager that the vast majority are. The country can’t afford the social and financial costs of these parasites on our society.

      • McFlock 3.2.1

        Exactly. There’s a massive amount of waste in thesystem at the moment.

        One spitball idea that just occurred to me was maybe a rates levy of 10% GV on every residential unit without a resident for more than six months of the calendar year? Wouldn’t even need to be universal – just designate high-need areas. Suddenly a lot of property bankers would have a bigger reason to bother with tenants.

    • dukeofurl 3.3

      Theres a lot of reasons why 40,000 ‘homeless’ isnt 40k who are ‘houseless’
      an Otago University study from last year, which found that the “severely housing deprived” – or homeless – population in New Zealand was around 41,200.

      Those literally without a roof, is still a terrible number, 4000+ ( could be well over that number)
      https://thespinoff.co.nz/media/22-05-2018/no-reuters-there-are-not-tens-of-thousands-sleeping-in-nz-cars-shop-entrances-and-alleys/
      https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11908336

    • edgil 3.4

      I live in Tamaki Makaura acres of empty land from bulldozed homes.
      Shame on this Nation Shame.
      Go on trolls pick that apart.

  4. AB 4

    New Zealand’s business and economic culture is one of plundering downwards. Get ahead by ripping sh*t out of the guy below you who has limited options. That way you get a squeezed middle and a desperate bottom.
    The popularity of owning ‘rentals’ among quite ordinary middle class people is a fine example – so is people going into the Sally Army stores buying any half-decent stuff for next to nothing and putting it on TradeMe. So is the high cost of construction materials…
    We live in very degraded times.

    • Antoine 4.1

      Why the scare quotes on ‘rentals’? They really are rentals.

      A.

      • AB 4.1.1

        Apologies. Double quotes intended not single, because that is what people call them. Often with quiet pride.

    • greywarshark 4.2

      AB
      This is getting off-topic but is an illustration of how clinging to past practices and policies can prevent movements to improve them, and stop development of helpful ideas.

      You are looking at things the wrong way when you talk about people utilising things from Salvation Army shops for product to sell on TradeMe. The first point I want to make is that that creates a micro business which has to be worked at.
      It recycles things so that they are utilised , and used things not wanted get reused by others.

      Opshops like those operated by charities provide a place where people who have the desire for things at a cheap price can go, and that applies to the really poor, and the bargain hunters with money.

      But there is a problem with NZ attitudes, they resent people who show entrepreneurship and act independently to earn money like people who buy stuff at op shops and then resell it. The people who do this are usually people on low incomes who become determined to increase them, they see opportunities for business and either work at it themselves, or find others to do so. If those others are receiving some return that is satisfactory to them, then a number of boxes about value to society get ticked.

      But because better-off people are increasingly using opshops, there is a feeling in the opshops that they should be charging more, ‘they’ can afford it. So the emphasis goes off getting enough money from selling donated goods to provide the funds to run their projects and services, but to get more money for the item. This can put items needed by poor people beyond their budget. This is such a shame on the charities. If they receive a price enabling them from their earned funds to do their work, then what is done with the goods is of interest only, and they should not be judgmental. If they are being onsold, then they have enabled micro business to operate. They have acted as a warehouse, and provided a platform for that business.

      The important thing for the Sallies and others is that they receive enough money from selling their donated goods, to pay for what they are trying to do. It should not be to take as much money as they can out of the pockets of poor people and put goods donated for others benefit beyond the ability of those really needing them who are poor. Otherwise they are making the poor pay for the services that they are receiving, in a roundabout way.

      I can’t stress this enough, because this thought has not percolated through the minds of those deciding on opshop policy who just mirror previous years, in a conservative way.

      • Molly 4.2.1

        I don’t know if I’m correct, but I read AB as describing people who buy from op shops to trade, not to use – being similar to those who have the wherewithal to purchase houses for personal gain, not to live in.

        I understand what you say about the microbusiness, but those on limited funds are looking to the op shops to provide them with what they need to use, and sometimes they will miss out because someone else, with no need for the goods, but with the cash to make money out of them, will purchase them at a lower price and offer them up for sale with a markup, making them out of reach.

        I tend to agree with him in this instance, and his analogy with housing.

        There is no added value, just an opportunity taken because you have the capital to do so.

    • Grafton Gully 4.3

      “We live in very degraded times.” These behaviours are fundamental to humans and other living beings, so “increasingly normal times”. The constant state sponsored propaganda and control needed to shift this is widely resented and has failed (USSR and its allied communist states).

  5. Bill 5

    I admit I chuckled darkly at Di Mazwell, a landlord quoted in the first link provided saying “People get sick of being abused”.

    Because it’s not as though homeless people will likely have a mountain of abuse below them and a mountain of abuse “yet to be visited” hovering above them? And no, I’m not talking about individual or personal abuse, but systemic abuse.

    But hey. Homeless people are not to be housed, but are to be protected against and treated as unfortunate but necessary components (to be accommodated, as it were) in he pursuit of that “higher calling” focused on the making of money (at least, according to the linked article).

    So the systemic nature of abuse is not to be recognised yet alone confronted. It does not exist, and so we’re just talking about bad people who make bad choices and behave badly.

    It’s a huge unacknowledged throw-back to the ideological roots of Liberal Capitalism that holds up as inferior, and invariably morally lacking, those people who are not a part of the property owning class.

    Remember any piles of nonsense thrown around about housing and any number of peoples not considered as a part of humanity’s higher echelons (non-white, non-European, indigenous…)?

    Oh, how we’ve progressed!

  6. greywarshark 6

    I think this material and its recycling effect, and lightness and Kiwi ingenuity etc can be utilised to help our housing needs.

    It seems a bloody good idea and working within our present parameters to make a difference right now. Planning for better in the future shouldn’t stop but go concurrently with these practical problem solving ideas at present.
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/thiswayup/audio/2018646484/recycling-polystyrene

    [Polystyrene afterlife user] Richard Moore of Poly Palace in Porirua has hacked together a bunch of old farm machinery, scavenged parts, and even some old rollerblades, to develop a simple solution for recycling polystyrene so it can be resold for road-building and house construction.

  7. Matthew Whitehead 7

    Honestly, we should build affordable housing and give it away to the homeless. It’s probably cheaper than paying for the hospital costs when they inevitably get sick by being outside in conditions they shouldn’t be.

    • Bill 7.1

      Facilitate small groups of people buying appropriate properties by way of housing collectives and such like – such that they are both landlord (through the legal entity) and tenant.

      Then pay the rent to the tenant as landlord, that then goes to the bank (or other funding body) as mortgage payment.

      It’s essentially what happens now – the government buying houses for people via the Accommodation Supplement. Only difference would be the abolition of the divide between tenant and landlord for as long as the tenant resides in the property or properties 😉

      And yes, any such body (housing co-op or whatever) would be well served to have very clear criteria set down that determines whether a person is a part of the co-op/collective decision making processes, and also very clear procedures or mechanisms for joining and being “asked to leave”.

      • greywarshark 7.1.1

        Honestly these ideas are ground-breaking and the best I’ve heard for a while.
        New, and practical and inventive yet once adopted would seem so obvious that no-one will understand why they weren’t adopted decades ago.

        • Bill 7.1.1.1

          Those ideas are very old.

          I first came across them some 30 years ago and know of many properties that were bought in such a way. (btw, because it’s the legal entity that owns the property, when a person leaves, they leave behind any property rights, being that they are no longer a part of the legal entity.)

          So there is no need to have cash up front to “buy in” to any vacancy coming up because of someone else’s departure – ie, there is no buying and selling going on between those leaving and those coming in.

          • greywarshark 7.1.1.1.1

            Bill
            I think everything you say on this issue is likely to be right. So okay you remember the ideas from the past. But they at present are staying in the past, as with so many things the young ones haven’t heard of them, experienced them. So they are new.

            And they would be ground-breaking literally. Find a way to adopt them, and take the project forward, and start turning those sods over ready for the foundations, and get people who are prepared to look after the houses, have them take part in workshops on building and maintenance and gardening and so on. And also meet their neighbours at a quiet social evening and think out and talk about what sort of community they could have. A really holistic thing, and not expecting community to arise automatically, assist it. Each housing project would be a bright drawcard for others.

      • AsleepWhileWalking 7.1.2

        Dude!

        And this allows disabled to solve their own issues rather than wait for the State (which may never bother).

        How is Wayne doing now I wonder?
        https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2016/06/05/upper-hutt-residents-mobilise-to-fight-state-house-sell-off/

      • David Mac 7.1.3

        I think Ricky Houghton is working with programs similar to the one you describe Bill. This from an online interview he did…

        If that’s the case, what’s stopping you doing more?

        There is so much bureaucracy. These families can’t even get a home with help from a provider like me because they do not meet the banks’ lending criteria in spite of the Government insuring the loans to the banks. If either of the homeowners has a criminal record, they are very unlikely to get insurance for their homes, and therefore they won’t get a mortgage. The state will pay their benefit, but the policies for many of these families are prejudicial. A family gets $200 a week benefit, and then another $100 for the children, but when Housing New Zealand or Work and Income assesses them for housing, the $100 for the children is counted as income. The reason these kids are facing poverty is that the money set aside by us as taxpayers for the children is being used as a generic family income. It is a tax on the children. The state needs to help put these families back on the ancestral land where they have natural family support. Instead, it spoon-feeds them. They have disconnected the umbilical cord from the family and reconnected it to the state, and the state is going to pay dearly for it. It is fiscally impossible to fix the social problems in Kaitaia.

        How are you getting people into houses?

        I can move people from a cowshed with no toilet into a three-bedroom 105sq m home. I can give them meat, eggs, milk, fruit, early childhood care, pastoral care and the best addiction support. With no deposit and $250 mortgage payments a week, they will own their house in 17 years. The trust owns the land and gives them a licence to stay in perpetuity as long as they observe our no-alcohol, no-drugs and no-violence policy. If they want a drink, they can go down the road, but we don’t want it brought into the home. It is a model that works for the Far North.

        We also need to prioritise keeping people in their homes. I know a family facing a mortgagee sale for the sake of $400 mortgage arrears. We save one family a week from mortgagee sale – Māori houses are being sold up at an alarming rate. When I say to government departments or credit departments of banks, “Here is my card, give it to them so I can help”, their response is that there are privacy issues and they won’t. What is so private about a huge sign on their front lawn saying mortgagee sale?

        https://www.noted.co.nz/currently/profiles/ricky-houghton-is-about-finding-innovative-solutions-to-the-issues-facing-maori/

        • Bill 7.1.3.1

          That sounds not too dissimilar. (That page is a pig btw, wouldn’t scroll).

          The main point of difference I can see is that those being housed aren’t in control of their housing – ie, it’s a top down model that leaves someone in charge (be that a trust, an individual or whatever) “calling the shots” on tenant’s lives.

          And that fcking bureaucracy he speaks of, with it’s tickets and certificates and endless bullshit…

        • Rosemary McDonald 7.1.3.2

          Click to access Papakaainga_Toolkit_A4_ONLINE.pdf

          “The Te Tai Tokerau Papakāinga toolkit is designed to help Māori land owners understand and navigate the process for undertaking a papakāinga development on their ancestral lands.

          The meaning of papakāinga can vary from a cultural and historical view. Traditionally, the literal meaning of papakāinga is, ‘a nurturing place to return to’. However in the context of this guide, papakāinga is generally considered as ‘development of a communal nature on ancestral land owned by Māori.’

          Papakāinga developments can be difficult. A lot of people and organisations are involved and it can be hard to get agreement.”

          And as for Ricky Houghton….a medal for that man. He saw the need and just got on with it. Like Kiwis used to do before the bureaucrats took over.

          I have heard the odd grumble about the no drugs/booze/violence rules, but the vast majority of residents really appreciate having a ‘higher power’ to invoke for enforcement.

          Thought provoking post kp.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.2

      Be cheaper than paying all the ongoing subsidies to private owners of housing as well.

    • saveNZ 7.3

      ‘Give away to the homeless” – all this ‘giving away’ to housing providers and to individuals over the years as well as the sell off of state homes and social housing is why we have the rental problem and now spending $1000 p/w for one room hotels!!

      Stop the government selling and giving away the state and social housing and have it impossible in law for successive governments to do so!

      When they kicked out all the state housing tenants onto the private sector it also created this on going effect of having a small but destructive percentage of tenants trash and contaminate multiple places instead of being left to it, in the state house so at least it was contained in one location.

      Is someone really going to risk renting out a place to a person (increasingly there are many) who have a P problems and face a decontamination order on their LIM as well as $100,000 of repairs?

      Now it turns out most of the P contamination was a lie anyway and you can wash down walls and get the same result! Too late for many houses lying empty and for landlords that will never rent out a property again.

      Judging by the government actions it looks like the government themselves want to get out of renting and just ‘sell’ off the laughable affordable places like Unitec to the highest bidder.

      How the hell is that going to solve the rental crisis?? It’s crazy strategy by a government that does not seem to have a practical approach and costing a fortune in social and actual costs (aka $1000 hotels) in the mean time.

  8. AsleepWhileWalking 8

    How long do people think the differential between those who pay 25% of income in rent versus those who are just as vulnerable, just as needy but not catered to in social housing will last?

    The difference in money after rent is staggering.

    It pisses me off that there is an assumption if you are vulnerable you are housed by HNZ or similar. Total BS. They house the housable, not the vulnerable.

  9. AsleepWhileWalking 9

    And that 65 day average for being housed doesn’t sound right either, unless you only look at A18 (highest urgency).

    Two years average looks more like it.

  10. Ad 10

    Korero, from your experience in this sector, is this statement from Christchurch Methodist Mission’s Andrea Goodman accurate?

    “Many of the families CMM helps into housing present with a range of complex issues.” says Housing Development and Tenancy Manager Andrea Goodman. “These families can’t always secure a house privately because they are not a landlord’s first choice due to barriers such as bad credit or low income. Accessing emergency accommodation gives them a warm and safe place short term while they are supported to transition to longer term housing that is more likely to be sustainable”.

    • koreropono 10.1

      Ad, I can’t speak for the CMM clients that Andrea Goodman works with and their issues may be ‘complex’, but I suppose the question that should be asked is, what is driving those supposedly ‘complex’ issues?

      In my experience people present for support for a variety of reasons, if I was to choose a common theme in a majority of cases that I have worked with it would be poverty, many of the ‘complex’ issues people are dealing with are a direct result of the stressors of poverty.

      The issues can get quite ‘complex’ but in my opinion we can call many things ‘complex’ because for some reason the helping professions like to ‘problematise issues, perhaps because it is advantageous for them to do so (think funding).

      I think we should just keep it really simple and say what it really is, people are homeless because there aren’t enough houses available to rent and people are poor, it really is that simple.

      In the meantime, if we problematise people who are homeless we can individualise the problem and pretend we are doing something constructive about it. We can make people who have the ‘problem’ attend government funded programmes to fix said problems.

      An example of this is the CMM offer budgeting and parenting (see http://www.mmsi.org.nz/pdfs/news.pdf) (I haven’t done any research on the parenting programme so I won’t comment on it) but budgeting programmes are pointless when people don’t receive adequate income to live on (and most don’t). Research coming out of Canterbury Law confirms that fact. However to give CMM credit, if they are still providing socialisation opportunities for homeless families then that at least will have some benefit for those people.

      In my experience the factors preventing people getting into rental properties include, competition, demand outstripping supply, discrimination, affordability, bad credit history and/or poor tenancy history.

      • Ad 10.1.1

        I don’t work in the field of homelessness.

        But there are a couple of distinctions that would be useful here.
        And I write noting that it’s from my own house, with the fire on, and well fed.

        I think it would be OK for people to be both problematic, and also homeless, and hence need help with both.

        There are plenty of social programmes that make no sense by themselves.
        But for people to get homeless, their lives have gone through multiple crises, all making life worse and worse, none of which were fixed. Each further problem means the fixes or “interventions” in state-speak to get their lives slightly more steady, would be bigger and bigger.

        I would just personally honour any person or any longstanding good-record NGO who tries to deal with the problematic issues, and homelessness. I wouldn’t want to see them knocked.

      • AsleepWhileWalking 10.1.2

        In my experience as an advocate people try to be as complex as possible to access the more stable and cheaper social housing.

        I appreciate this isn’t everyone but it is well known the more “complex” your life problems are (+supporting letters), the higher the priority you are to house.

        I don’t blame anyone for hamming it up. You do what you must to escape the rentiers and keep your kids schooling consistent.

        • koreropono 10.1.2.1

          I agree and actively support people playing up their ‘deficits’ in order to gain access to support…but WTF, why should people have to?

          There are so many contradictions inherent in this system and the only way people can get help is if they carry the labels. The irony is that we work within a ‘strengths based’ and focused system and yet we’re encouraging people to concentrate on their deficits just to get some of the support they need.

          • AsleepWhileWalking 10.1.2.1.1

            Its a direct result of having a competitive system. Be the bigger victim or the suffering continues.

  11. Draco T Bastard 11

    If transitional housing providers are removing properties from the market, one has to wonder what is happening to the families who would have otherwise been able to access those properties on a longer term basis. In some cases, I wonder if the competition created by providers is impacting on rental prices (I know of some cases of landlords hiking the rent when in negotiations with providers).

    I’m wondering how big the government subsidies are getting. This sounds like a typical capitalist rort that makes a few very rich for doing nothing at the expense of everyone else.

    That assumption is that the people in need of housing also need ‘fixed’ in some way. If I had more time I could provide example after example of how the housing problem is being individualised so that the onus is on ‘fixing’ flawed homeless families and implies they are somehow to blame for the situation.

    Sounds like WINZ where the assumption is that unemployed people need fixing and ignoring the reality that the power is all in the hands of the employers. In other words, it’s the employers that are the problem. In this case it’s the rentiers that are the problem as they keep housing supply down so as to get higher unearned income and usually that’s coming from government.

    • Adrian Thornton 11.1

      Exactly right, imagine what would happen if there were no family tax credits or rent subsidies..the whole filthy housing “market” would collapse overnight…that is just a fact.

      Meanwhile banks are selling debt to NZ’s desperate to get on the “housing ladder” at record rates..
      https://tradingeconomics.com/new-zealand/households-debt-to-income

      I saw a run down, shitty old house here in Hastings sell for $450,000 dollars last week…in Hastings for fucks sake, I mean I love Hastings, but come on seriously, that value is pure fantasy (or nightmare).

  12. Adrian Thornton 12

    These are all interesting views and conversations to have, but until NZ produces a political leader that actually says and reiterates again and again and again, that the free market model is not, has not, does not and will ever work to create any sort of long term sustainable, healthy housing model in New Zealand for all New Zealanders, then all that will ever happen is what is happening now….just more bullshit fiddling around the edges.

    In short we need a real Left wing Labour Party and leader who would put it’s citizens welfare firmly before some debunked trickle down neo Liberal ideology, which is exactly what we have today.

    Turn Labour Left!

  13. Valerie 13

    Do not know if this still applies but were you aware that back in the early 2000’s refugee’s were allocated Council or Housing homes within 2 weeks of application ie 10 working days – this apparently was the law – properties were kept intentionally empty for such cases. I can vouch for two (one who admitted paid “the Turkish Mafia” for false refugee papers) here in Wellington. These young men (married) who then ran off with NZ women and within two weeks had a place in the Willis Street and Taranaki Street flats after renting privately. I lost a bit of faith after this.

    • dukeofurl 13.1

      People who arrive here first and then are approved refugee status can come from countries we wouldnt think of as refugees. *
      ( Separate from the UN refugee program)
      China – 1/4 of the total
      Saudi Arabia
      Turkey
      Jordan

      Click to access rsbrefugeeandprotectionstatpak.pdf

    • AsleepWhileWalking 13.2

      I’ve heard of this happening and I assumed it continued but then there was that article a few weeks ago. Certainly they have a very high priority (note the crisis only just being felt)

      https://i.stuff.co.nz/national/103557081/housing-crisis-hits-refugees-as-government-looks-to-boost-bed-capacity

    • saveNZ 13.3

      I know a family of migrants who got a state home in Mission Bay, who both worked and earned over $100k and then were offered a 10% discount to buy the house!

      Then apparently there was the housing corp guy who if you gave him a bribe you got to the top of the list for a state house.

      It is time that our government actually have a plan to help those who are born in NZ and can be verified as being poor first and actually go around and work out how many people who are getting all these benefits after arriving in NZ in the last 15 years are holding up against those who actually were born here.

      I know a family who just bought a brand new 4 bed 3 bath Home in Auckland after only living in NZ for 8 years on low wages, while receiving all manner of benefits. Who knows whether it is hidden behind trusts so they can claim the ‘rent’ as well. You have to wonder, because our ‘honesty’ system does not seem to be working out.

      In Italy they went around looking at people who were driving Ferraris and living in nice houses while claiming benefits.

      It’s about time, NZ government stop taxing honest people more, and take a look at all the rich trougher’s whose income and lifestyle in particular does not add up to a beneficiary or low wages one! Because they are sucking the system dry and being cheerleader to do so.

      • AsleepWhileWalking 13.3.1

        I agree.

        Here we don’t need to look for Ferrari’s just flash cars in driveways.

        Oh don’t moan – you take a higher rate of housing subsidy you should expect higher scrutiny as to whether you actually need it or not.

  14. edgil 14

    Acres of empty land in GI and Panmure, Communities bulldozed out of their homes.
    Shame on this Nation, Shame.

    • saveNZ 14.1

      @edgil – this is the strategy whether the government know it or seem unable to think it through, evict state house tenants leaving them homeless and the tax payer paying $1000 a week for a hotel against the profitable housing corp state houses, bulldoze state houses and sell/give the land to private developers or cronies who then make a massive profit and only have to build back the original number of ‘social’ houses years later.

      Who apart from the government gives away free prime land? It is crazy, but that is neoliberalism and the government spend all their waking moments with neoliberal business and organisations with lovely sounding names like, help the homeless, but the reality is, it’s asset transfers from the useless state to the private greedy.

      Oh and then they put up taxes and reduce social services or borrow money so they can pay the private companies profits to build these houses that they already had and a $10k makeover would have sufficed!

      • greywarshark 14.1.1

        Just recently on Radionz there was a good interview about the tenure change of high country land and the peculiarly unbusinesslike way that the Crown (government) negotiated away $100,000s of undervalued land which once free for sale was then inflated to million dollar subdivisions.

        http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/sunday/audio/2018646691/ann-brower-critical-conscience

        Christchurch – 31 May Uni of Canterbury

        Civil Defence environment
        27 May 2018
        Ann Brower: critical conscience
        From Sunday Morning, 10:04 am on 27 May 2018
        Listen duration 32′ :18″

        On 31 May, Dr Ann Brower will deliver a lecture at the University of Canterbury, titled: A Little Guy’s Guide to Making a Difference after receiving the Critic and Conscience of Society Award earlier this month. Dr Brower is probably best known for her advocacy for more stringent regulation of earthquake-prone buildings, a campaign informed by her experience of being on a bus crushed by falling masonry in Christchurch’s 2011 earthquake. Twelve passengers died on or beside the bus.
        She’s also been prominent in highlighting high country land being transferred from Crown to private ownership.

      • edgil 14.1.2

        Save NZ. You are correct.

  15. greywarshark 15

    What is ‘the Critic and Conscience of Society Award?’
    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1709/S00231/inaugural-critic-and-conscience-award.htm

    http://www.criticandconscience.org.nz/resources.html

    Critic and conscience of society: A vanguard against jackboots?
    A five-point definition of ‘the university’ was enshrined in New Zealand legislation with the passage of the Education Amendment Act in 1990. The fifth point of the definition – that universities must ‘accept a role as critic and conscience of society’ – introduced a phrase that has been embraced by New Zealand academics.

    But where did the phrase originate and how did it come to be a part of the Education Act?

    https://www.gamafoundation.org/GAMAF/About/gamaf/About_Us.aspx?hkey=a890dd84-6698-45ba-bb89-4ef74881d99f

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10431003

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