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Housing policy omnishambles rolls on

Written By: - Date published: 8:25 am, June 16th, 2016 - 64 comments
Categories: accountability, housing, human rights, national, useless - Tags: , , ,

The government that will pay you $5000 to leave Auckland and $3000 to move to Auckland has been selling state houses so recklessly that it is now considering building temporary ones – ‘Pop-up’ housing being considered to help ease Auckland shortage

Temporary, pre-built houses could be placed on empty lots in Auckland to help ease the housing shortage, Prime Minister John Key says.

These would be the empty lots that the Nats keep insisting don’t exist because it’s all the Auckland Council’s fault you see. This would be a response to the housing crisis that National insists isn’t happening.

Mr Key confirmed today that “pop-up” homes were one of a range of housing options being considered by Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett.

“And if the need arises or the opportunity exists she might do those kinds of things,” he told reporters today.

The Government has been advised there is space for 150 temporary homes in Auckland.

The first 150 homes could be used as a “tester” for how quickly modular homes could constructed, and whether they passed quality standards.

Just get on with it! The need is urgent and any action would be better than none.

But it’s absurd that a government that has been selling off permanent state houses is in the process of being forced to build temporary ones. The need isn’t temporary, the need is here to stay (under the Brighter Future). National are a mess of incoherent policy and ineffective action. Headless chickens make more sense.

64 comments on “Housing policy omnishambles rolls on ”

  1. M. Gray 1

    Popped up homes, popped up workers , popped up immigration policy from a propped up government that needs to pop of and that’s putting it nicely

  2. “And if the need arises or the opportunity exists she might do those kinds of things”

    That is key in a nutshell – hollow slimeball with zero ability other than to lie – and bennett is just like him only worse.

    • Hanswurst 2.1

      Above all, though, it’s just such a moronic statement. He may as well say, “If, at some point, a point of some sort is reached, some stuff may happen”. What an idiot. Who voted for this chump, ffs?

    • AB 2.2

      Yes – but this sort of evasive, meaningless, noise is the lingua franca of your average business meeting.
      On the surface it sounds positive and well-intentioned. It carries a suggestion of flexibility and openness and a desire to find ‘solutions’. If delivered with a smile and a firm handshake and a parting discussion about how Kieran Reid is doing now that Ritchie’s gone, it goes a long way in NZ. Don’t underestimate it.

      • marty mars 2.2.1

        + 1 yep very true – this is the meaningless fodder that pleases the fans of key – it seems to mean something and it actually means nothing – could actually be keys legacy.

        and I also think that this approach of pretending to try to be reasonable will not and is not working with this issue.

      • Doogs 2.2.2

        Bloody perfect AB. The problem in a nutshell.

  3. jcuknz 3

    The snag to the idea is that ideas have to be researched before implementation and often get scrapped for minor considerations so while a good idea I don’t hold much hope for it…. long ago I suggested pre-fabs but ‘business’ said it wouldn’t work or would not be profitable and nothing happened … whereas it is government which has the means to undertake unprofitable but worthy enterprises … like way back tourist hotels, hydro dams et al.
    edit … I am sure the rules for good housing will scupper the idea whereas basic housing is better than what exists today… except I am sure damm fool lefties would protest at anything less than gold plated houses LOL 🙂

    • “except I am sure damm fool lefties would protest at anything less than gold plated houses ”

      yeah well your ‘damn sure’ ain’t worth nothing buddy – you’re as out of touch as your mates key and bennett – the only thing I’ve heard ‘lefties’ want is some, minimum at the least, housing for families and individuals so that they don’t have to live in a fucken car or van.

      lol – ideas have to be researched…

      yep sure and meanwhile people suffer more and more – but wait!!! on one side we have people needing houses and on the other we have empty houses – hey maybe we can just help those people into those houses. Radical I know but it could work as long as we don’t bother with the bullshit denial and obfuscation.

      • jcuknz 3.1.1

        Marty Mars is typical of what I expected to a sensible and reasonable post.
        Like so many which follow after those making sensible suggestions. The answers are there but will they be taken up … I doubt it. Pity people are so dumb and idealogically blinded. Attacking the person rather than the idea for want of an argument.

        • marty mars 3.1.1.1

          you seem very sure of the worth of your opinions, that to me is a sign that those opinions should be treated with caution. Especially when as you loudly proclaim your post is, “sensible and reasonable” – *snif* it must be tough for you out there, real tough.

          • jcuknz 3.1.1.1.1

            The trouble for you MM is that you are mired in the left right tangle and for a practical person like myself who is delighted to read subsequent postings where people have answers. Again the problem is I suspect these idea from the States[?] may fall down over the building standards in NZ inflicted on all of us by closed minds in local authority offices. Along with the delays they cause. For once Nick Smith is right.

            • marty mars 3.1.1.1.1.1

              “For once Nick Smith is right.”

              shit that made me laugh – thanks for that j

              • jcuknz

                That is precisely what I meant …Nick Smith is a National Party member so he must be crackers.

                For once he is correct in pointing out a cause, just one, of the housing problem …. I read it as a result of the RMA and building regulations which hamper folk trying to be different as Molly points out but for the building regulations in force in 1968 I would not have known how to build the family home with my wife.

                But the building industry didn’t like the way it stopped them building leaky homes so the politicians scraped it and brought in a system where councils have to estimate if a project should proceed with no set rules to guide all ….. a maverick opinion for sure but I found the original rules very helpful as a non-tradie.

                • I agree that we need the ability to build different houses – shared title, multiple dwellings, tiny houses, shared spaces and so on. I agree that regs need to be adjusted for the situation we are in and are moving toward. I even agree that the RMA needs to be a living document.

                  But – the restrictions and RMA did not cause this housing crisis – greed did. We need the RMA otherwise unscrupulous developers would bulldoze all the green bits into their developments so THEY can make money – and even with restrictions and the RMA they STILL do this which amazes me. The know it is easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission but they are putrid scum imo.

                  • weka

                    I can’t see how the RMA is a problem either. From what I can tell from people who are building their own homes, it’s the councils that are making the process far more difficult than it needs to be. I agree that that is a consequence of leaky buildings syndrome (councils are butt covering), but it’s gone far beyond that. It wouldn’t be that hard for councils to encourage innovative building.

                    Banks are another problem, being able to dictate the conditions of the build (eg how big, how conventional etc).

                    And there are problems in the supply chains of building materials too, where prices are being racheted by the big companies, and smaller, local companies are being squeezed out.

                    • jcuknz

                      I guess I was fortunate that I had my permit to build and was well on the way before I had to ask a bank for some. I had a freindly lawyer too who advanced money in the innitial stages so the house I thought I could build was started.

              • jcuknz

                MM you just prove my point …. Nick is a NAT so must be stupid and laughed at, as those who agree with him that it is a contributing factor.

                Black or White is no position a sensible person sticks to and the future is I am sure a meld between socialism and capitalism such as the current government is finding popular.

                Sorry for double post site was a bit slow uploading..

    • Molly 3.2

      Temporary housing (for a long-term issue) is only a solution in a world where the cost of resources is only measured by the cost of extraction.

      In my mind, it will create an industry that is responsible for something similar to this view that I see on the Southern motorway. Whoever builds these with the expectation that people will be living in them, must have some disconnect that they are providing a quality service.

      There are other options for housing people that gives them a stable living environment and community, that would probably cost the same – but would have better long-term outcomes and lower cost to the environment.

      Immediately, tiny houses of the calibre of those shown here (by a couple in Waitakere), come to mind ($26,000 build cost), along with an example of their initial strawbale 25m2 cottage ($12,000), and their first build – a cob cottage. Imagine if people were allowed to experiment on their own properties, without having to navigate a raft of consent processes and officers that are unfamiliar with these types of build.

      Smaller homes, designed and built well can be designed to be permanent homes, but easily moved. These can be used as infill housing, laneway homes, and homes that provide community security by being allowed in places that give unsafe places oversight.

      But that would create an expectation of innovation for all NZers, and how would the economy react to that?

      • mauī 3.2.1

        No experimentation, creativity, thoughtful resource use, diy, autonomy, exclusion of large profit reaping companies, craftspeople allowed in a National economy.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.2.2

        It’s amazing how many people now think that they need 250m^2 of house when just a few short years ago 90m^2 was considered quite large – certainly large enough for 3 bedrooms.

      • gnomic 3.2.3

        Erm, help me here, what is a ‘laneway home’?

        • Molly 3.2.3.1

          Laneway homes is a term from Canada, where they refer to small, compact homes built (usually) at the back of existing houses. A type of infill housing, but specifically oriented towards existing lanes or public access ways that already exist – ie. laneways.

          The benefit of this is not just allowing for more residents – they have found that the laneway houses often transform seldom used walkways, by creating a community that now faces those spaces. Also, it is often a pedestrian space, meaning that a community can develop that has well-designed housing, that connects the residents to other residents and provides them with a shared space.

  4. Richardrawshark 4

    Welcome to your brighter future NZ. Isn’t it just peachy, isn’t paradise and the rockstar economy great.

    /sarc

  5. Greg 5

    National policy is clearly working well, except for the people that need it
    Immigration at all time high, great profit for the hotel industry exploiting workers,
    as immigration and temporary work visa compete for low skilled jobs, keeping employment costs down.
    Just dont rely on National to actually fix anything, oh god the horror, they wouldnt have a job then. Or become rich from giving water away for free.

  6. Byd0nz 6

    Just come across a 1980 Peoples Voice (PV) that berates the nats for this very same type housing crisis, nothing has changed,oh wait, yes it has, its worse, so the nats..i party is still the same , useless, corporate capitalist serving (fascist) organisation.
    Line them up …………………….

    • Mike Bond 6.1

      If that is true. What has the Labour government done in its term since 1980 if housing was an issue back then already?

      • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1

        Helped make it worse by going full neo-liberal in the 1980s and haven’t yet returned to social-democracy.

  7. Bill 7

    About those 33 000 empty houses in Auckland…(that number’s about right, yes?)

    Open them up.

    Squatters rights.
    Very heavy ‘vacancy’ tax.
    Compulsory purchase of speculative properties.

    There are ‘1001’ ways. So the questions I have are, why are political parties stuck in a rut of impotency? (That’s a rhetorical question btw). Why do we (you) accept that solutions must sit within the narrow parameters of a political party’s comfort zone? Why aren’t imaginative and workable solutions getting any oxygen or traction in any quarter?

  8. mauī 8

    You can bet the vacant lots aren’t the ones scattered throughout the city, no they would have talked to one of their developer mates on the outskirts who doesnt want to build for 5 years.

    Again they missed the boat during the Chch earthquakes to trial mass produced prefab housing, and with no answer themselves this one is really biting them. That’s what happens when all you believe in is a market that happens to be completely scewed.

  9. Sabine 9

    This is not a shambles, this is what it is supposed to be.
    Economical cleansing.

    http://www.newshub.co.nz/nznews/families-left-homeless-by-rising-housing-nz-rents-2016061509#axzz4BgKmKTnq

    and again, smear those that provide help to the most needy as.

    Quote: An Auckland advocacy group for the poor says it is dealing with an increasing number of Housing New Zealand tenants being evicted into homelessness.
    But the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) says Auckland Action Against Poverty (AAAP) has been making “broad, uninformed claims without understanding the facts in each case and getting it wrong”.Quote End.

    OF course it must be the fault of those trying to help, it can’t be the fault of those making the problem larger and larger by the fucking minute.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      How to add quotes

      Using basic HTML, which anyone can learn, really does make comments easier to read.

      • Sabine 9.1.1

        i have tried to learn these for the last 15 years. I can not learn these. I tried. On more then one occasion. When they are listed on the reply box, where i can cut and paste (the extend of my computer skills really 🙂 ) , i shall use them. But i can not for the life of me remember them.
        So sorry i shall continue using quotes.

  10. Rae 10

    Pop up HOMES? What? Pop up shelter, yes, but homes, not ever, never, not even, NO!

    Who in the political arena is prepared to put a few things on the line?
    Who is prepared to call all this rubbish for what it is?
    Who is prepared to unequivocally state that housing is for people to live in, to make their HOMES in, and should be and will not be a means of speculating and/or “investing” on. Homes are places where people settle down, in their own HOME, bring up families, have pets, make gardens, hang pictures on walls that are painted a colour of their choice, contribute to the community, without, forever hanging over their head, the prospect of the house being sold out from under them as the owner wants to cash out.
    I am saddened enormously there are people now who have not known anything else other than a precarious housing system, and that this kind of precarious living is now normal, and thinking of housing should not be the stamping ground of investors, strange.
    Among the homeless, I now count reluctant renters, they may not be house or shelterless, but they, in fact, HOMEless. Let’s get really real about this, speculators just use tenants as a “gap filler” while they wait for enough profit to come off a property, then they are gone. That’s homelessness as far as I am concerned.
    This is just about a terminal situation now, one way or the other. Leave the status quo, and it won’t be long before we are a majority of renters, people who will never be able to provide for their retirement as people who are into this “every man and his dog being a landlord” are currently. If we do what needs to be done to make a house purchase much easier, then it will probably require a fairly decent collapse in house prices, as waiting for wages to catch up will still see a couple more generations of renters.
    I want now to see a political party who is prepared to lay it on the line, now, and say that tenancy laws are going to change to better resemble those of, say, Germany. The prime intent of any change must first and foremost be, that anyone who is renting is able to make a HOME of where they are. This will mean removing a lot of “rights” that landlords currently have, and will quite possibly turn many off the idea of being one in the first place, which will further make it possible for more homeowners to buy their own stake in the ground.

    Whatever happens, it must be made utterly, utterly clear to all, that housing is NOT to be used as some sort of casino.
    I would also make it quite clear that foreigners have NO part in our existing housing market, and I would make it illegal for them to be landlords. We are paying welfare to many of them via accommodation top ups. Those too, will require phasing out, with rent controls replacing them.

  11. Draco T Bastard 11

    National are a mess of incoherent policy and ineffective action.

    And that’s a result of National’s first question when making policy: How can our donors profit from this?

  12. Kaplan 12

    “The first 150 homes could be used as a “tester” for how quickly modular homes could constructed, and whether they passed quality standards”

    What happened to the “tester” in Christchurch 2010/2011. Perhaps they should roll in Gerry’s campervans…

  13. reason 13

    Good news on one front ……….. Housing Corp has acknowledged that dangerously high levels of lead as well as asbestos could be present in their housing stock and they are going to do something about it ….

    Housing New Zealand chief operating officer Paul Commons said that under the new pilot programme in Auckland, every state house would be tested for Lead and asbestos hazards before being re-let.

    The poison lead was damaging not just houses and the public purse – but the children of families in need, he said.

    “So any house we sell, any house we buy, we check routinely and now in Auckland we’re piloting a process where any house we let we test it thoroughly so we’ll be increasing this all the time to ensure we’re not putting families in harm’s way.”

    He was reportedly outraged that a housing corp property had twice the recognized safe level for lead when it was sold onto the private market after ‘decontamination’.

    We had to put a caveat over that particular sale requiring new owners to keep young children off the floor.

    Housing corp is well aware that “Up to 50% of the lead ingested by children is absorbed. Adults only absorb 5-10% of ingested lead.” ……And a as 10 kg infant would only need to ingest 5 mg of house dust daily containing 1% lead to develop lead toxicity so its not something we could ignore as semi-responsible landlords…… ;0

    Housing corp will also be providing free blood tests to determine the amount of Lead poisoning for children and tenants in their known Lead properties.

    This is a further aid to the comprehensive advice and leaflets Housing corp compulsory provides to affected tenants on how to protect their children from this accumulative poison …….

    well done Paula ………. and shame on those who cast doubt on her motives.

    Housing corp like DOC is committed to removing this poison from our environment 😉 http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/braniac-parrots-threatened-by-widespread-lead-poisoning/

    • YNWA 13.1

      Seriously dude, get real, the National party will use lead and asbestos in the same way as their P ruse to use taxpayer’s money to improve houses for their rich friends to purchase and remove from the housing stock.

  14. Molly 14

    Meant to be a reply to 13 above

    “Housing New Zealand chief operating officer Paul Commons said that under the new pilot programme in Auckland, every state house would be tested for Lead and asbestos hazards before being re-let.”

    Won’t somebody think of the children?

    Well, let’s see. If the concern was about the children of NZ being exposed to toxins, alongside a statement regarding the non-availability of state housing (which is what his statement amounts to) during a housing crisis – he, and the Minister for Housing would be saying:

    1. All rental properties need to be tested for lead and other poisons before they can be rented … you know, because of the children….
    2. Taking this to the logical conclusion – ALL homes needs to be vacated until they can be tested for toxins etc… you know, because of the children.

    If you honestly believe that the concern for children is paramount in this approach, then how is that concern not translating to effective policy strategies that introduce affordable, secure, well maintained housing for all NZers which includes the most vulnerable, adults and children alike?

    Don’t waste my compassion on considering how bereft your life is of real intent and connection that you cheerlead for Paula Bennett so willingly.

    It is needed for those whom you ignore.

    • Gangnam Style 14.1

      Nah you got to just keep the kids off the floor apparently.

    • jcuknz 14.2

      Reads like a great idea to close more houses and force people into cars etc.
      “semi responsible” my ass. [Sarc]

  15. Macro 15

    The first 150 homes could be used as a “tester” for how quickly modular homes could constructed, and whether they passed quality standards.

    Gezz just get on with it! Ask Alan Duff FFS! He has one at his property overlooking the Kiapara and has had one there since 2007.
    There are oodles of manufactures around the place. That’s just 3 I’ve listed there and these quality homes (Duff wouldn’t buy one if they were rubbish) take around 6 weeks to construct in the factory. They can then be transported to the site and placed on their foundations connected up to services and ready to go in a day. I have a 2 bedroom go-home which I have had sited in 2 different locations. They are fully finished (including carpet) with full functioning kitchen (including dish drawer fridge/ freezer and gas stove and oven etc. A homeless small family would love this. Site them (with extra bedroom spaces for the extra kids as needed) and there you have a great warm quality home for $100k (2007 price) + connection fees.

    • Rae 15.1

      They are fine as homes for those for whose needs they suit, however, will they be HOMES as opposed to just a temporary roof over someone’s head? It is HOMES people need and homes by definition are quite different to accommodation!

      • Macro 15.1.1

        I have lived in a 40’s state house and one of these and I can tell you which I would rather live in. These are not just accommodation.
        These are prefabricated in a factory where there are many advantages for quick assembly. Nothing needs to be skimped; and it is not.

        • Rae 15.1.1.1

          What I am talking about is what purpose they will be used for, will it be to accommodate people temporarily or will they become actual “homes” because it is HOMES that are needed not just shelter.

          • Macro 15.1.1.1.1

            If you were to have a look at the links I have provided you would see that they are perfectly adequate to be used as homes. They are not just shelters.
            Here is just one example: from one company, There are numerous others.
            The 3 bedroom kea comes complete with laundry and ensuite.

            • weka 15.1.1.1.1.1

              I think Rae is asking if the people who move into the govt ones next month (or whenever) will be able to stay there long term. Not so much about the quality of the building, but what the government’s intentions are ie is it emergency housing or permanent? (I agree that small, low cost houses can be permanent).

  16. b waghorn 16

    I wonder what nationa party donor will get the contract to build the pop up houses.

  17. Paul 17

    Building a brighter future.
    The irony.

  18. Jack Ramaka 18

    We need to throw these chimps in Government some peanuts?

    I guess they have to sell the State Houses to pay the interest bill on the $120 Billion Debt they have rung up since they got into power 8 years ago, done absolutely nothing apart from running up a huge debt and giving tax cuts to their supporters.

    I had a conversation with someone at work today who I thought was reasonably intelligent, and he told me that National were doing a good job and had got the country back into surplus after the mess Labour had got the country into 8 years ago?

    Now I realise most New Zealanders are thick and believe the messages conveyed by MSM, most people do not understand a current account surplus and long term debt and what the messages the Government is sending out via MSM, most people are financially illiterate here in NZ ?

    When I explained it to him he said f****d if I know, nothing I can do about it?

  19. Neil 19

    Hate to see what the cost of putting the services in eg: permits for sewer, water, drainage, power & phone on for these temporary pop up houses will be. Just putting in temporary power on a house building site is not a cheap exercise.

    • Macro 19.1

      There is no need for them to be temporary! I have owned one for 9 years and it is still as good as when it was first delivered. The cost of services will be the same for any house. If they are to go on the numerous vacant sections the services are already there – they just need the appropriate foundations. Paths and gardens etc will be just the same.
      Manufacturing the houses in modular form in a factory means that they can be quickly and efficiently assembled without constrains of weather etc. They come completely finished – they can be sited on a section and connected up to services within a day. I know. I have seen it done twice.
      As I noted before one of NZs wealthiest persons owns one. He is not going to put on his property a shack.

      • gnomic 19.1.1

        Perhaps name the wealthy person for our edification? Who lives in this dwelling perchance? The chauffeur? The maids? The gardener? I think we should be told. I’m guessing it won’t be one of the wealthiest, unless it’s the holiday home. And even then probably the minder outside the main dwelling.

    • Draco T Bastard 19.2

      Read an article the other day about some housing that an Australian firm has designed. Fits within a shipping container, can be put up in five minutes, has solar power on it, fully wired, fully insulated and lasts 20 years.

    • Molly 20.1

      I saw a video on this – or something similar – a few years ago.

      The residents were very happy to move into these homes, and have their priorities decide what the next improvement was going to be.

      Really good solution to making the budget provide more housing.

  20. Venezia 21

    ” The first 150 homes could be used as a “tester” for how quickly modular homes could constructed, and whether they passed quality standards.”

    The government already know about the timing, effectiveness and quality of such temporary housing because of a report on the Christchurch examples :

    http://quakeaccommodation.govt.nz/sites/default/files/files/report-evaluation-of-the-canterbury-temporary-villages.pdf

    So are they serious? or is it more bluster & PR from a government that couldnt care a stuff?

    • Pat 21.1

      would take that report with a shaker of salt if this extract is anything to go by…..

      “The Stage 1 response was in two parts. The first part was the setting up a campervan village in the Canterbury Agricultural Park. However, the demand for the campervans was far less than expected. CETAS observed that applications for accommodation were predominantly for temporary homes with applicants preferring to continue with their existing arrangements until temporary homes became available.”

      The real story….
      http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/christchurch-earthquake/4942205/Campervans-flop-with-quake-homeseekers

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