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Meanwhile, in the real world…

Written By: - Date published: 7:44 am, April 23rd, 2013 - 27 comments
Categories: class war, housing, poverty, privatisation - Tags:

So, John Key, Bill English, and Steven Joyce are now devoting all their energy into trying to stop the asset sales programme collapsing after the Greens and Labour gave notice the excessive profits are going to end, and National confirmed they’re for real by suspending the sale. While the government’s wasting its effort on that, real families are suffering like this family:

Living in a mice-infested garage that floods in the rain, a Christchurch mother and her young children have been fighting for months to be deemed a top priority on the city’s state housing waiting list.

Amber Breiter, 22, has been in her mother’s standalone garage in Linwood with her 4-year-old son and baby daughter since January and cannot understand how her desperate situation is not judged “at risk” by Housing New Zealand.

There is no heating. There is no carpet. The door has no lock and when it rains, it floods.

After a HNZ assessment in February, the family was deemed Priority B – its housing needs were assessed as significant, persistent and ‘serious’.

‘At risk’ families are labelled Priority A, which means they have a severe and persistent housing need that must be addressed immediately.

Breiter believes she should have been deemed ‘at risk’ when she moved into the garage but HNZ told her there were “people in Christchurch who had a greater need than I did”.

In the past few weeks her hair has been falling out from stress and her children now sleep in bed with her because the noise of the rain “terrifies” them and water pools beneath her daughter’s cot.

While Breiter piles sheets up against the garage door to soak up the rain, Christchurch’s HNZ waiting list balloons.

The list currently sits at 270 (90 are priority A and 180 are priority B), up from 195 in February.

After four calls from Breiter in the past week and inquiries from The Press yesterday, HNZ plans to meet with the family today.

“The meeting may result in a change to her priority. However, this isn’t a guarantee that we can provide her with accommodation straight away,” HNZ tenancy services manager Symon Leggett said.

Breiter’s plight was highlighted in The Press in January, after she shifted into the garage because she could not afford the bills from her previous rental.

She cannot sleep inside her mother’s four-bedroom house because seven relatives are already there.

Since January, Breiter, who is on the domestic purposes benefit while she studies to become a security officer, has tried to secure a rental, but her poor credit rating is against her.

“I am very desperate and I will take whatever is offered. I feel like I have let my children down, that I have wronged them. This is not how they should be living.”

But what about King Gerry, you may ask. The people of Christchurch have their very own overlord for these situations. Well, here’s the latest sighting of Gerry, doesn’t look too concerned for the needs of the poor of Christchurch, does he?

king gerry dressed as a butler

27 comments on “Meanwhile, in the real world… ”

  1. Dv 1

    Key said he was going to send help to China for their earthquake.

    Any truth that he is to send CERA, QRC and Brownlie

  2. ordinary_bloke 2

    He’s all psyched up about representing Planet Aotearoa at Margaret Thatcher’s memorial service.
    That’s not how he looked when he wandered into our local Pak’n Save. He’s posing for the camera, and the hat looks like something out of an English (or Canterbury?) country hunt. Give him a break .. I mean how would YOU like to be given the role of Henry VIII in an earthquake ravaged town ?
    Don’t laugh. His next stop could well be Wellington.

    • rosy 2.1

      Did the taxpayer pay for the suit and the hat, as well as that glory trip, I wonder?

      Is HNZ subsidising rental units on behalf of high needs people, or is it building units, or waiting for an HNZ unit to become available? Christchurch is an extraordinary situation require extraordinary measures, right? Surely they’re not just waiting for something to come up?

  3. Agora 3

    Occasionally I pop over to KiwiBlog out of interest.

    This morning I seemed to have chanced on the internal
    ruminations of an expat Chilean Junta focusing on the
    Greens, but it turned out to be Farrar @ 9 AM on
    “Competing for the most lunatic policy”.

    A nice piece of dispassionate, even-handed, reporting, I thought.

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2013/04/competing_for_the_most_lunatic_policy.html

    • Rupert 3.1

      “A nice piece of dispassionate, even-handed, reporting, I thought.”

      You must be new to Kiwiblog. Take a seat, there’s a few things you probably should know…

  4. weka 4

    The govt has abandoned the people of Chch. It is more concerned with the city than the people that live within it. There is no excuse this far out from the quakes for the situations of people like in the article above. Shame on NZ for allowing this to happen.

    • Brian 4.1

      In a country as wealthy as this one is; it is indeed shameful.

    • Glg 4.2

      Of course, the people of Chch are not this Governments concern. It’s the (large) businesses in Chch that they are working for.

    • BrucetheMoose 4.3

      This story is only the tip of the iceberg. There are still hundreds living in garages, caravans, various improvised buildings and staying in overcrowded situations with relatives. Thousands of others are sticking it out by just staying in their busted homes, which may be more tolerable during summer, but it is miserable and wreaks havoc on their health during the bitter winter months. On top of this, there are the stresses imposed by dealing with a variety of financial difficulties and constant battles with insurance companies and EQC. This situation was meant to have been hopefully alleviated by a desperately required insurance advocacy service that was to be established by Brownlee and CERA. After stalling the issue and waiting for nearly a year for this service, Brownlee announces that an “Advisory” Service will be instigated in the next few weeks. In other words a diluted version of what was originally requested. A tiger with no bite. This blatantly shows how much importance the government and Brownlee really cares about the worst effected citizens in Christchurch. Meanwhile, the government is hell bent on land acquisition and undermining viable existing businesses during the process. Meanwhile, Brownlee goes on a weeks stint to a funeral the Governor General probably could have attended. The very man who was warned a year and a half ago of a looming housing and rental problem. His attitude, ignore it and quote, “leave it to the market” to sort it out. Yep, he looks like what he is in the photo – I present to you, Lord Fool of Canterbury.

  5. Seen this?

    http://gordoncampbell.scoop.co.nz/2013/04/23/gordon-campbell-on-lurching-towards-the-centre-on-power-prices/

    Countering the failed Rogernomic$ right-wing market maniacs……

    Remember – follow the money!

    NZ Prime Minister John Key was a Wall St bank$ter (former head of Derivatives for Merrill Lynch, and a Foreign Exchange advisor for the New York Federal Reserve).

    John Key still holds shares in the Bank of America.

    NZ Prime Minister John Key is putting his mouth where his money is.

    Looking after investors – not the NZ public majority, many of whom are really struggling to pay their power bills.

    Remember!

    It was the collapse of the unregulated derivatives market – which arguably NZ Prime Minister John Key helped to set up – that has caused the current global financial meltdown.

    Penny Bright
    ‘Anti-corruption / anti-privatisation campaigner’

    2013 Auckland Mayoral candidate

    http://www.dodgyjohnhasgone.com

    • Mary 5.1

      When is Shearer and the rest of Labour going to start telling the public exactly how it is – along the lines for example of how Gordon Campbell’s doing it? We’re not seeing any of this kind of talk from Labour. They’re losing the war of words on this because they’re forever putting themselves on the back foot, defending the “bad commie” accusations. Come on you guys, be a proper Opposition, tell the public exactly what Key’s doing and why Labour and the Greens need to do what they’re doing. Throw some muck back at Key – call him an extreme right-wing monetarist who has no concept of how his behaviour affects average NZers. Go on, Mr Shearer, do it – I dare you. Because until you do you will keep losing the our support. You’re already looking like spoil-sports – by upsetting the moneymen’s grand plans for even bigger profits! How can that be? You guys need to make no apologies for upsetting the asset sales plan because it’s something that needs to be stopped at all cost. But Key et al are getting the public onside because (A) you’re getting in the way of government policy and (B) you’re “depriving” citizens of the opportunity of choosing to buy the shares. Boy o boy! This is easy stuff to counter. You should be all over them, but no, your softly, softly Mr Nice People approach leaves you on the back foot, defending and looking guilty. Please Mr Shearer, be the Opposition, for all of our sakes.

      • geoff 5.1.1

        This.

        Great comment, Mary.

        The cynical take is that Labour is behind this policy, not because it is anti-rent-seeking or anti-neo lib, but because they know that in some sense it is a bribe to the public and it will get them into government. Same with the housing policy. That didn’t have guts to it because it didn’t have anything in it for the truly poor and can also be seen as a cynical political bribe to get some of the swing voters.

        Once Labour is in power I don’t think they’ll try to do much more than 3rd way, Blairite fluffy nonsense.
        Will the Green’s hold their feet to the flames?

        I’d like to think that their hand will be forced by circumstance to actually make proper changes to the system. For example, if interest rates were to go up significantly, the veil on this fake economy would be lifted and half the population would have to declare bankruptcy because they couldn’t pay their mortgage.

      • Murray Olsen 5.1.2

        Good post, Mary. Labour since the 80s have always sounded like they were apologising to the bosses. Bugger the bosses – they’ve already got NAct to look after them. Labour needs to stress that it exists for the workers and forget those who get upset. Then it can move a lot more to the left and fight alongside Mana and the Greens for the things that really matter. That’d be a great start.

  6. Glg 6

    Of course any moment ‘the market’ will step in and fix everything. Right?

    • vto 6.1

      ha, not here it wont because it has abandoned the free market and put in its place the biggest collectivist and interventionist approach ever in our history…… Oh, sorry, that was for the property owners in the CBD.

      Out in the suburbs we get the full blast of free market approach.

      For business and National Party supporters – intervention and far left madness straight out of North Korea.

      For the people – the free market.

      This government is freakin’ twisted man. It’s like they are high on drugs all the time – always positive about their own position while talking absolute gibberish and making no sense whatsoever.

  7. aerobubble 7

    Someone on NR pointed out that Thatcher tightly regulated (funding it sufficiently) the privatized electricity market in the UK. Labour and National both did not, and haven’t privatized it as SOEs are still controlled mostly by govt (and even after the partial sale will control 51% of mighty river).

    So aside form the lazy arse way parliament runs this country, what other nonsense is being passed off by National. Well Key says huge amount of wealth were wiped off the share market due to Labour and Greens policy announcement, which Key went on to say would not achieve anything rather disingenuously in my view since just by speaking they have cause huge losses. Well let’s look at those losses, turned out its a bubble in electricity assets, would you say that a bubble in housing pricing were burst was a huge loss? Artificial holding up pric bubbees isn’t a value government should be worried about. But where did the money for that bubble come from? Well consumers of electricity paying too much, so all through the GFC we’ve been paying too much, taking food from out of the mouths of our families (or cars!).

    Turn out that suppliers who are also retailers in the electricity market have an unfair market position.
    This got me to thinking, when the wealthy rig the system they always fail to notice that they also weaken it, the fact that if 100,000 homes in S.Auckland all turned to do their washing at peak hour in the middle of winter you can be damn sure the prices of electricity will jump in Epsom through the next year, and that why the wealthy need smart meters. When you have a necessity like power, its only a matter of time before a unethical immoral revolutionary conservative seizes on the value and privatizes it extorting the poorest, unlike Thatcher in the UK electricity market but hey she needed to build up a victory to push through total fiscal monetary implosion (aka like you can always say Musullini got the trains to run on time). In the post Thatcher world worrying about actually doing any social good to build up trust before pushing hard right is long forgotten, all you need is a smile and a wave and MSM will come slobbering over you like a pet dog.

    So when you ask where has all your hard earned over charging for electricity gone, well in dividends to government to pay for year on year lower taxes favoring the wealthiest.

    And when Key says trust him, the market will become competitive very soon and look how National have gotten prices down, remember the prices are down because of the GFC crushing economic activity, and that Key isn’t going to change that, and even if the final rebound comes (which I believe won’t happen until fundamental thetcherites have been put to the metaphorical sword) the prices will again leap. Key will be long gone from the stage by then anyway, why trust
    a promise from a politician that can come true anymore than one that can’t when it occurs after they left office.

    So banking goes hyper-asset bubble, housing does, now even electricity assets, and we’re all paying through the nose, and what’s Key’s answer – do nothing and pooh pooh any honest debate.

  8. Andy-Roo 8

    And meanwhile, in the real world, I just posted this to my parents – who are living in a house with stuffed foundations and a leaking roof, which cannot be fixed right now because…

    • EQC is responsible for land damage within 8 meters of the house and the garage. This covers most but not all of your section
    • EQC are not responsible for foundation repairs to your house, your insurance company is, but in your case this is covered by EQC’s liability for the first 100K of damage covered by your insurance policy any way
    • In order to fix the foundations of your house, EQC / the Insurer are cooperating on a geotech programme. This is taking place in two stages, an area wide assessment and where required an individual site assessment driven by the need to fix foundations. In other words – they will not do this until they need to, and what triggers a “need to”, is plans to work on your foundations.
    • Right now EQC are stating that work on your foundations can not commence until issues with the retaining wall are addressed. Because no work can take place on your foundations, I very much doubt that there are any plans to do a site specific geo tech assessment of your property
    • Remediation of the retaining wall is not an EQC responsibility. Paths, driveways etc (and I am betting that this includes retaining walls) are specifically excluded from EQC coverage. These may or may not be covered by your insurance company depending on the type of policy that you have.
    • Given the proximity of the retaining wall to the house, (about 5m), you need to demonstrate that the retaining wall repairs meet whatever standards EQC and your insurance company deem to be appropriate. They are very specific on this point in the attached document. Here is the cleft stick… You almost certainly have to get a structural design for the wall done to prove this, and may very well have to get a geotech assessment as part of this process despite the fact that EQC will have to do a geotech assessment in order to repair the foundations. Wall first, then foundations – and if they are bastards, which they are – you pay for geo tech (if it is needed) before the wall is fixed. They don’t need to pay for geo tech for the foundations until you fix the wall, part of which process probably requires you to pay for geotech…

  9. Wayne (a different one) 9

    Eddie it’s about time you “got in real world”.

    This is nothing, but economic sabotage!

    From Milford Asset Management (who would have more economic nouse than mumbles and wussell and the whole left contingent thrown together):

    This is wanton and deliberate sabotage of our economy on the part of the Greens and Labour.

    In conclusion, to save $700m per annum from our total electricity bill the direct and indirect costs of such a scheme would be in the order of the following; $2.5bn in additional debt servicing costs, $450m reduction in dividends, $4.5bn asset write-downs from State owned enterprises, $1bn of capital destruction of the listed power companies and a reduction of $100m of dividends per annum to New Zealand shareholders.

    Well done the left – lets go F..K New Zealand once and for all – to save less than a dollar a day off a power bill!

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 9.1

      Milford Asset Management has a conflict of interest much?

      BERL don’t agree with them.

    • Murray Olsen 9.2

      Yep, the whole model is wrong. It should all be run by a single government department. Having private rentiers running any of it is pure economic sabotage. However, in the interests of class peace I would be prepared to let private companies build generating capacity and lines to supply the free market superheroes of Epsom, Remuera etc. They can burn their copies of Atlas Shrugged and The Road to Serfdom to keep warm until it’s all up and running. Better that than using socialist electricity, after all.

    • Colonial Viper 9.3

      Funny enough, after all that economist bullshit from the Gaynor, ordinary NZers are going to be better off.

      $4.5bn asset write-downs from State owned enterprises, $1bn of capital destruction of the listed power companies

      Gaynor, all this shows is that those assets were wrongly valued. Whoever did (or used) those valuations (YOU?) didn’t take into sufficient account future risks and uncertainties.

      This is simply an expected reversion to the mean, mate.

      I hope your clients aren’t too upset with you for FUCKING UP your advice to them.

  10. BrucetheMoose 10

    And they say black is slimming?

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      LOL. But no doubt someone is going to be upset with your ‘weightist’ reference.

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