Manus Island operator seeking to buy and manage Housing Corporation Homes

Written By: - Date published: 8:31 am, June 29th, 2017 - 27 comments
Categories: australian politics, human rights, International, law, racism - Tags: ,

The Government is in the process of selling Housing Corporation houses throughout the country. In Christchurch it has shortlisted applicants to buy 2,500 houses. One of the applicants is partially owned by a company involved in management of the Manus Island Detention Centre.  I am not making this up.

From Radio New Zealand:

One of the consortiums shortlisted to buy Housing New Zealand homes in Christchurch has links to a company accused of human rights breaches on Manus Island.

The government is seeking proposals from three preferred groups before deciding which one will be chosen to purchase 2500 houses in the city.

They are all made up of existing housing providers and investment firms and would be required to continue operating them as social housing and not sell them to the private sector.

One consortium is made up of housing provider, Trust House Limited and Broadspectrum New Zealand, a subsidiary of a larger Australian-based business in charge of operating the controversial Manus Island refugee detention centre.

Broadspectrum, along with the Australian government, this month agreed to a $73 million out of court settlement with detainees after they said they were mistreated.

Manus Island is a weeping sore on the face of the planet. Broadspectrum (previously Transfield) took over the management of the Detention Centre in 2014.  It was warned repeatedly about human rights violations and the No Business in Abuse group ran a divestment campaign against Transfield.  It cost the Australian Government and Broadspectrum $70 million plus costs which is a truck load of acknowledgment that the Government and Broadspectrum behaved appallingly and that refugees’ rights were breached.

Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers is, well words escape me.  The politicisation of the issue is appalling.  Who can forget John Howard and others claiming that Asylum seekers on the Tampa boat had thrown children overboard to increase their chances of having their claims approved.

And the current Liberal Government is just as bad.  At the top of the list of miscreants is Immigration Minister Peter Dutton.  Perhaps the most appalling thing he has done is to defend attacks by drunken PNG soldiers on refugees by insinuating that the refugees were child paedophiles.

But back to the story at hand.  Using an organisation that has been successfully sued for the human rights violations of refugees on Manus Island a contractual right to handle much of Christchurch’s social housing, what could possibly go wrong?

27 comments on “Manus Island operator seeking to buy and manage Housing Corporation Homes”

  1. dukeofurl 1

    Broadspectrum sounds like some nasty infection.

    • DoublePlusGood 1.1

      Needs the broad spectrum corporaticide called Losing All Their Contracts to sort it out. Probably with a follow-up treatment of Criminal Charges.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    One of the consortiums shortlisted to buy Housing New Zealand homes in Christchurch has links to a company accused of human rights breaches on Manus Island.

    Considering this government’s attack on beneficiaries they probably see that as a plus.

  3. greywarshark 3

    That might tie up nicely with getting rid of NZs the Australians had decided to discriminate against, and we could also have our very own Ozzie gulag in Christchurch. Gnats :: Helping us to move with the times!

    • John 3.1

      Hypocritical as New Zealand deports foreign criminals too. Over the past 5 years NZ Government deported close to 500 foreign criminals from New Zealand.

      Australia has every right to deport non-citizen Kiwi criminals.

  4. DH 4

    This comes as no surprise. After Tauranga who wouldn’t be keen on buying our state houses, National are giving them away for a third of their value.

    I’ve said it here before and I’ll say it again. The best way to stop the sale of state houses is to tell the public, repeatedly, how much National sold the last lot for.

    Voters will have mixed views on whether to sell the state houses or not, none however will agree with selling them at the mammoth discount that National are guilty of.

    • greywarshark 4.1

      NZ is a bargain basement. We are pretty low down in the bowels of the edifice with our lack of expertise in managing ‘the product’.

      Richard Prebble (I think, correct me if I am wrong) was so keen on getting rid of the loss-making railways that he said he would have given them away and almost did. Now we have the state houses being treated as the next bete noire du jour.

      What is the going rate for shonky governments? It seems that a narrow majority of NZs think they know the price of everything but we others think they don’t know the value of anything.

      • DH 4.1.1

        Tauranga could also have been a dry run; they look to have gotten away with it so now they can give away even bigger jewels to their mates.

        I can’t believe the opposition aren’t all up in arms over it. The average sale price looks to have been around $130,000 per house in a market averaging over $600k per house. Admittedly the actual selling price doesn’t appear to have been revealed by the Nats yet but it shouldn’t be hard for the opposition to get it.

  5. There’s something truly appalling here when a company with a known track record for appalling abuses of the most vulnerable can see money to be made in the sale, and our Government thinks this is ok.

    When will people stop saying that Bill English is basically a decent man who’s got himself caught up in other people’s scandals, when this sort of nightmare is becoming the new normal under his watch?

    • Keith 5.1

      The morons took on Serco and continued to pimp for them knowing how bad they were and how cooked the books were. So what difference does another shonky operator make?

      And this policy is pure hard right Bill English ideology more than any other creature in the National Party.

  6. Keith 6

    Look, to be fair to National, they simply don’t give a damn about people needing a decent roof over their head, especially the riff raff who don’t vote or don’t vote National!

    The cynic in me wonders who in National is increasing/selling their shareholdings in Broadspectrum!

  7. Philj 7

    Just another example of selling, or giving state assets to private corporate ownership. And distancing the government from direct housing accountability. Standard neo liberal orthodoxy.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1


      All about shifting responsibility in such a way that no one’s responsible.

  8. adam 8

    Thanks Mickey for this exposé, as I don’t really do news hub. This is just another in a long line of questionable ethical decisions by this government.

    Scratch that, this lot have given up on ethics. I know, I expect some will say we should avoid ethics, but not now, this is truly in the realms of the beast stuff.

    The current government will listen to any avaricious advances. Got to make you wonder, what else is whispering in their ear?

  9. Tony Veitch (not etc) 9

    What a wonderful opportunity for the Labour Party and/or the Greens, to say, quite clearly that they will nationalise WITHOUT COMPENSATION all the sold houses the day they become the government!

    I won’t hold my breath!

    • Peter 9.1

      They can’t do that it would be socialism. We need a left wing party for that.

    • McFlock 9.2

      Yeah, that’s exactly the sort of precedent we want to set for the national government that follows the next labgrn government /sarc

      Besides, that assumes that the state housing stock’s current location and condition is what we actually need. Personally, I’d be more along the lines of introducing a regulation that 20% of every new housing development needs to meet realistic affordability criteria, with the government having first right of refusal on purchase. Plus all the rest of labgrn housing policy (wofs, kiwibuild, etc)

      • RedLogix 9.2.1

        A question of symmetry arises.

        Selling a public asset for a fraction of it’s market value seems perfectly OK.

        Yet nationalising it back at a similar fraction is regarded as a terrible precedent that cannot be allowed.

        • greywarshark

          Sounds like arse-symmetry to me.

        • Tamati Tautuhi

          Look at the sale of the BNZ, Railways, Telecom certain individuals and families linked to the Governments of the day made some serious money out of the sale of these State Assets ?

        • McFlock

          What part of “without compensation” means “a fraction of its market value”?

          If we really wanted those exact houses back, I’d be cool with “what you paid for it, plus OCR level of interest”, because it’s better than chucking out everything back to and including the magna carta.

          Why? Because if we want to be better than them, we need to be better than them. That includes working within the rules of civilization and not the rules of absolute feudalism (it’s the law only as long as I feel like it).

          • greywarshark

            good point mcflock – if the left want to take the high moral ground they had better stay near the heights and not try their hand at mud wrestling, that mud can sure stick.

      • Tony Veitch (not etc) 9.2.2

        @ McFlock

        I may be wrong, but I read somewhere that under the original proposals of the 1935 Labour government, one state house had to be located in every new housing street – a way of mixing the social classes.

        Of course, the rich fought the idea and won. But can you imagine every street in say Remuera or Fendalton having a social housing property beside a million dollar mansion!

  10. Sabine 10

    so maybe we can hire these guys to build our Key Villes in the domains to house our homeless? that should make the Nationalistas happy. They get to throw tax payers funds at a private enterprise and they can pretend to be all conservative compassionate christians that look after the poor.

  11. John 11

    I find this hilarious when you Kiwis to complain about How Australia treated illegal queue jumper “Asylum seekers” coming by boats trying to get into my country not through legal channels, Europe right now with its Asylum seeker problems of mass rape, sexual assault, murder & other crimes by Asylum seeker men towards local women,girls.

    Australia could’ve become just become like Europe recently has if it didn’t enforce its borders.

    While it took New Zealand 29 YEARS to finally increase its annual refugee quota by just a pathetic 250.

    Australia takes in 1 refugee per 1700 Australian citizens compared to New Zealand which takes in 1 refugee per 6000 New Zealand citizens. Australia still takes in 4 times more refugees than New Zealand does per capita.

    New Zealand deported a Fijian man while he was waiting for a kidney transplant which he died one month later in Fiji & NZ tried to deport a Tongan woman with heart condition back to a region in Tonga that was destroyed by a cyclone at the time.

    Same with the hypocrisy of New Zealand’s complaining about Australia deporting non-citizen Kiwi criminals back to New Zealand, when New Zealand deported close to 500 non-citizen foreign criminals over the past 5 years.

    The Tampa was Norway’s responsibility but they tried to throw it off onto Australia because their Norwegian ship was in Australian waters. Thank goodness for John Howard during that time who didn’t take the bait.

    Either those remaining Manus Island detainees stay in Papua New Guinea or go back to their home countries.

  12. Is this sale dependent on Debacly (?) Staying on board

  13. saveNZ 13

    Who needs human rights in our new world order of High capitalism? The National party have been feting a new friend who can help make it all happen for them. Selling off state houses will just be the beginning. The media has been castrated into propaganda run by offshore corporations so most people will not even be aware of it.

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