Incoherent, unfair and unaccountable

Written By: - Date published: 7:01 am, May 20th, 2016 - 48 comments
Categories: accountability, class war, housing, human rights, paula bennett, quality of life - Tags: , , , ,

Incoherent, unfair and unaccountable.

That is how officials from the Ministry of Social Development described the emergency housing system in a review delivered to Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett.*

A year ago.

What has Bennett done in the year since, to fix emergency housing? If the answer is “nothing” then she should resign. At once.


* Fantastic work from Checkpoint.

48 comments on “Incoherent, unfair and unaccountable ”

  1. Tony Veitch (not the partner-bashing 3rd rate broadcaster) 1

    I’m sorry, perhaps I didn’t read your post right – resign? RESIGN? Just because she hasn’t done her job? Just because the homeless situation has got worse under her ministry?

    You should know better – there is no accountability in this neoliberal world. And furthermore, perhaps Paula has been doing a very good job – marginalising and demonising the poor. Perhaps she is doing exactly what the filthy rich want.

    So don’t give me any more nonsense about resignations, please!

    • AmaKiwi 1.1

      “What has Bennett done in the year since?”

      Become Minister for Climate Change, which she admits she knows nothing about!

      There are 14 Green MPs and many Labour MPs each of whom knows ten times more about climate change than Bennett. Why give Bennett the portfolio?

      Because our NZ form of government is a disgrace.

      Excuse me, I’ve got a phone call from a broom closet at Parliament. Oh, it’s just David Cunliffe.

      • AmaKiwi 1.1.1

        I should have added to 1.1, “because we have an adversarial form of government instead of a cooperative system.”

      • ianmac 1.1.2

        Perhaps Climate Minister is a bit removed from Work and Income and less likely to be in the thrust of public dismay. Thus when Key anoints her as his successor she will sweep in “untainted.”

        • Treetop 1.1.2.1

          Climate has a bit to do with Bennett’s social housing portfolio. People sleeping in their cars freeze in the winter. The same can be said for garages.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.2

      “I intend to take personal responsibility for this by staying on as Minister”.

    • Mosa 1.3

      Not just Bennett the whole rotten regime should go its a bloody outrage they are in charge of people’s lives and creating misery for hard up members of our society.

    • peterlepaysan 1.4

      Quite Right.

  2. TTD 2

    “Housing New Zealand wouldn’t pay a dividend to the Government and instead use the money to build new state houses, under a Green Party policy.”

    ” A slogan not a plan “says Paula Bennett

    LIke .. A Brighter future ?

  3. Penny Bright 3

    Why is there ONE empty State house?

    Put the homeless into empty State houses.

    Why doesn’t Housing NZ provide emergency housing rather than ‘private providers’?

    Penny Bright
    2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

    • Doogs 3.1

      Hmmm! Maybe it’s because so many of them appear to be in such a poor state of repair that they are unliveable.
      Do something about that? Nah, not when there are so many motel owners in need of support.

      • Chris 3.1.1

        And the money Work and Income are making people repay for the cost of the motel should be made non-repayable. There’s plenty of ability in the legislation for Work and Income to do this but they just can’t get past thinking that because the amounts are in the thousands they have to recover it, which is nonsense, of course. In fact, the high levels of debt people are being thrown into and the further hardship this is causing should point to the help being made non-repayable.

        https://our.actionstation.org.nz/petitions/forgive-winz-motel-emergency-accomodation-debt?state=sign

        • Treetop 3.1.1.1

          What a vicious cycle W&I have created. When a person finally finds a place they then need a loan for bond and advance of rent. Probably W&I use the excuse of having a high debt and having exhausted all special needs grants or advance of benefit.

    • Again, you make good points Penny. Housing NZ should be the primary provider of all state organised housing, temporary, medium term and long term. The private sector should be the last resort. We desperately need to get back to the principles of the first Labour government and build, build, build. We also need to return to giving state house tenants certainty over their leases. Long term occupancy is not only good for the tenants, it’s good for communities.

    • Lanthanide 3.3

      I don’t think it’s reasonable for all state houses to have tenants 100% of the time.

      There needs to be downtime for repairs, and there is of course likely to be downtime between one tenant shifting out and another shifting in.

      Also there may be houses in parts of the country where there aren’t enough people with housing need to fill the houses – is your solution to ‘ship people in’ from other areas, or to demolish or sell these houses, if you demand 100% occupancy?

      • Craig H 3.3.1

        Good point – there will always be some churn, so 100% occupancy is unlikely, and not really to be encouraged. Having more houses than demand is the ideal, as it allows emergency capacity.

      • Treetop 3.3.2

        “I don’t think it’s reasonable for all state houses to have tenants 100% of the time.”

        On the Nation this morning, Fox from the Maori Party said that there were 60 empty state homes in Gisborne and there were 83 people on the housing waiting list.

        How can the government justify this?

        Even if the homes are up for sale, people could be living in them.

    • mikes 3.4

      The 27 odd million which Key’s vanity project cost (probably more than 27 mill) could have rented around 1,000 3 bedroom houses (at $500 p/week which is a cheap 3 beddie in Auckland) for a whole year to help families in need. A year would allow a bit of time to try and find a permanent solution.

      But whether people want one bit of cloth or a different bit of cloth to wave on a pole is obviously more important to Key than people, including young children, living in cars, tents, garages, etc.

      Says it all really.

    • Mosa 3.5

      Quite right Penny no state house should be empty while so many don’t have safe and warm accommodation.
      Its appalling.

  4. mauī 4

    I’m struggling to see what is more immoral. If you’re desperate in NZ the government will turn you into a debt slave, making you pay back your motel emergency housing, all the while hocking off the rest of state housing to rich kiwis. Lowest of the low.

    • jcuknz 4.1

      But didn’t I hear that these loans are only for three weeks and then it is’ back to the car for you with your 6T debt’?

  5. adam 5

    Can I just point out that Utah did it, housed the homeless. You know chronically conservative Utah.

    http://www.nationofchange.org/utah-ending-homelessness-giving-people-homes-1390056183

    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/09/22/home-free

    What wrong with these people? This national government is rotten to the core. It’s Ministers are useless and really quite poor at their jobs.

    We need to stop going after Key, he is just a distraction, and go after these woeful, failed Ministers.

    Brownlee – fail in Christchurch
    Borrows – failed, so bad stopped being a associate minister
    Adams – fail at Justice
    Guy – Fail at everything he touches, is he a corporate plant?
    Smith – housing, the environment, ACC, the minister of epic fail.
    Williamson – Another fail moved through so many Ministries it’s a joke – Baaaaa on us.
    And then of course there is Paul Bennett who could not organise a piss up in a brewery.

    Please the list is far from definitive, and many more National party Ministers are bloody awful at their job – accountability is missing, it would be ironic, if it were not so bloody sad.

  6. Sabine 6

    she sold State Houses and got a taxpayers funded trip to New York. Cause why not.

    It is not as she is expected to work for the people, she is expected to sell of our State own assets and that is what she is doing.

    C’mon people she has had hers, and she will have yours too. So just zip it sweety and if yer not nice to the dame she is gonna out all your private details to the media for a bit of official endorsed bullying.

    • ankerawshark 6.1

      Bennett, English et al should have to pay the debt owed to Winz for the emergency motels……….afterall the right are all about taking responsibility……they have failed catastrophically on this.

      And I am remember Key being tricky with Cunliffe about the capital gains tax in the election debates……………..

  7. M. Gray 7

    In Petone by the foreshore (that nobody owns ) they moved people out of state flats because they said these places were an earthquake risks. Within weeks of selling them I saw an Indian man painting them and advertising for tenants no earthquake work was done on these flats this was just another lie to try and justify there actions

    • Lanthanide 7.1

      No, it simply means the new owner doesn’t care about the earthquake risk associated with the buildings.

      Bit of a gamble, as they could be held responsible in the future. But on the other hand, after a damaging earthquakes, everyone (including the courts) is likely to be too busy to blame or charge the owner with anything.

      But everyone can always blame the government – who has deep pockets if you can win your case.

      • Hanswurst 7.1.1

        No, it simply means the new owner doesn’t care about the earthquake risk associated with the buildings.

        No, it doesn’t “simply” mean that. The government is responsible for the regulatory framework that allows people to be housed in those conditions. If a government agency is selling buildings that are an earthquake risk to landlords or occupants who will not do anything about that risk, then the government is simply abnegating its responsibility for ensuring that housing is safe.

        • Lanthanide 7.1.1.1

          Yes, fair point. Really I was specifically rebutting this statement:
          “just another lie”

          It’s an excuse for why they could sell the properties off, and as you rightly point out abnegating responsibility, but from the evidence presented we cannot conclude it is a lie.

          • Hanswurst 7.1.1.1.1

            I don’t think that people on this blog are necessarily aiming to “conclude” anything. They’re often just trying to point out where they see something wrong. My point, as far as it went, was fair enough, but I was actually just trying to show how incredibly easy it is to come up with a pedantic rebuttal to almost anything without thinking about it for more than two seconds, and how quickly a debate can disappear up its own arse if that’s what we do.

            • GregJ 7.1.1.1.1.1

              I wouldn’t worry too much Hanswurst. Lanth is the “cloakroom monitor” of The Standard standing there tutting at some minor, irrelevant point and wanting to get the last word in – a trees not the forest type. I think most of us got the point. Now I’ll leave Lanth to come along and have the last, anal retentive, word.

  8. NZJester 8

    They have waited till it is getting closer to election time to make out they are going to do something about it, so they can appear to have some actual policies besides tax cuts at the next election.

    • Lanthanide 8.1

      Eh, then everyone will say “too little too late”.

      I personally wonder if they’re waiting till budget day, but I suspect if that were the case Key and/or English would have said “just wait till budget day”.

  9. Richardrawshark 9

    All of them, no one can make a failed system based on failed ideology work.
    \

  10. M. Gray 10

    This government is finally starting to see and hear the anger of many NZers and they are now handing out candy just before their budget I am referring to the money for apprenticeships

  11. Steve Alfreds 11

    One year ago? Here are Pull-a-Benefit’s comments from 2011 when people in a west Auckland caravan park were paying $280 a week for a caravan:

    Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says assistance is available.

    “Those who are having housing and other social issues will be helped where possible,” she says.

    “Rising rents in Auckland will no doubt present challenges but it is up to us as a community to come up with innovative solutions to resolve housing problems.”

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/western-leader/4767219/Last-hope-for-homeless

    Remember kids it’s up to the “community to come up with innovative solutions to resolve housing problems”.

    • Hanswurst 11.1

      If “the community” had the innovative idea of turfing out this government, that would go a long way.

  12. Steve Alfreds 12

    And the community did come to the table with an innovative solution to resolve the housing problem. You can now rent a palatial garage in South Auckland with good in door out door flow for just $380 a week.

  13. Steve Alfreds 13

    And the community did come to the table with an innovative solution to the housing problem. You can now rent a palatial garage in South Auckland with good in door out door flow for just $380 a week.

  14. whateva next? 14

    Yep, the plan to farm the responsibility out to the Salvation Army before the shit hit the fan FAILED. Sally Allies are not daft and could see through the spin.
    Are Nats going to shake this off as they shake everything off? They are still going to suffocate with the amount of crap surrounding them, which they cannot AKSHULLY deny responsibility for, they are the GOVERNMENT, that’s we pay/elect them for.
    Maybe Key will tire of all this bother (as opposed to photo ops and changing laws to amass wealth) and resign?

  15. dave 15

    I totally argree she should go and not just her the whole government as well we need protest action to demand there removal
    After 8 years and kibs sleeping in cars is not acceptable
    They have lied denied used bully tatics to hde there incompetence times up they have to gi we cant afford this incompetent lot

  16. Wisdumb 16

    Action Plan for Car and Garage People

    1. An appointed Supremo/Suprema goes to all the welfare NGOs and charities, e.g. the Salvation Army, and obtains the names and car locations of all people in their district living in a car or garage, to be collated within fourteen days. Anyone missed out can be picked up in a second sweep.

    2. If MSD does not provide the same information sooner than the combined charity agencies the most senior MSD person involved in getting the information is replaced.

    3. MSD puts all the homeless people into motels or hotels and pays them to stay there for as long as it takes to get some state houses ready. Say 1 – 3+ months.

    4. Housing NZ (HNZ) reimburses MSD for the emergency accom costs. MSD has been handed a poisoned chalice here, thanks to the brilliance of Bennett, Tolley, English et al. I understand many MSD staff are doing their best, given their training and the rules they must follow, to help out the car people.

    5. Housing NZ gets as many houses ready as are needed to accommodate the homeless now in emergency accom. (Plus 25% more houses as a buffer – living in cars will continue until the government changes its welfare and state housing policies, which will be a long time.) The houses need to be warm, dry, safe, etc, etc. What is the difficulty – this is all simply HNZ’s core responsibility – isn’t it???

    6. And HNZ has unoccupied though often poorly managed houses coming out its ears. Don’t give us the crap about meth contamination, and mismatches between locations, family sizes, and house sizes. If you have to take some of your bloody houses-for-sale off the market then you must bloody do so. And if some of the houses are too large for small families but there are no small ones in a particular district, then too bad, you must supply the large house. After all, you have had decades to learn how to count rooms and count family numbers and match them up but you have been playing smartarse property developer instead.

    7. Money is not an issue. Housing NZ is scheduled to give the government a dividend of $118 million this year.

    8. Carry out a Commission of Inquiry into Housing New Zealand. Of course, the CEO and the Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch regional mangers of HNZ will be on gardening leave while the Commission sits and the chairperson of the board will voluntarily resign to spend more time with his or her family.

    9. The obnoxious heartless government ministers responsible for the last eight years of this disgraceful situation will not resign, no National minister ever takes responsibility for their debacles. Hopefully though, this situation will be the last straw that convinces voters to throw this heartless money-obsessed government out.

    • Craig H 16.1

      Full marks for that!

    • Treetop 16.2

      What a miserable, incompetent government we have when it comes to all levels of affordable housing. Heard this morning on the Nation that some new borns are being kept in hospital even though they are well enough to be discharged. The problem is, were they to be discharged they would probably need to be readmitted. REASON is that they are homeless.

      I have not heard anything from the Children’s Commissioner who is a paediatrician. Hospitals are full of opportunistic bugs. For a doctor to make a call to discharge a new born or to not discharge a new born due to having unsuitable housing is a reality and the government CANNOT even fix this.

      Putting a new born in a motel with a stressed out parent/s is a last resort. At least this prevents a hospital admission.

  17. whateva next? 17

    Luckily for the government, so many fragmented services providing support, and people who have given up as they don’t have an address or living illegally in over crowded houses, the figures are not collated.
    I doubt the government will support appointing a service to collate as it is just the way they want it thanks very much.

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