- Date published:
10:19 am, July 2nd, 2015 - 25 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, assets, business, capitalism, Economy, housing, Maori Issues, pasifika, poverty, privatisation, uncategorized - Tags:
The Social Housing Reform (Transaction Mandate) Bill allows designated Ministers to sell off state houses. Currently Housing New Zealand has no such power. Interestingly however, this Government could introduce a Bill with criteria to enable sales to be signed off by the CE of Housing New Zealand but instead they are seeking that power for themselves.
Phil Twyford (Labour Party) may be over stepping by using the C word (corruption) and thereby giving a diversion to this government and its supporters for ridicule, but what is possible is that through lobbying, future Minister’s could invoke the power for the benefit of a few rather than the many, or themselves (indirectly – I am thinking Oravida type help).
“They’re basically clearing the deck of anything that could get in the way of selling these houses,” he said.
“This bill puts ministers above the law. There is a good reason ministers are supposed to be at arm’s length, and that checks and balances are in place. This bill is a charter for corruption at a time when these ministers are planning to hock off billions of dollars of public assets.”
It does seem to have appeared out of the blue. But to be a Bill already, it must have been some time in the drafting so has been in the wings for a wee while, if only since the announcement of the sales to charities and other community organisations.
Fairfax is reporting of the Government (Paula Bennett) that:
It also seeks to amend other legislation to ensure that land vested in Housing New Zealand which was acquired under the Public Works Act does not have to be offered back to the original owners.
The Government has said that it will sell up to 2000 state homes this year to community providers – which will continue to offer social housing – and says it will reinvest funds in areas that need more social housing.
Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett’s bill would give ministers the power to enter into contracts on behalf of Housing NZ or its subsidiaries.
A disclosure statement on the bill written by Treasury describes the powers as unusual, comparing it to a “private law power of attorney”.
My bold reveals the fishhook. Now, The Maori Party will be pretty upset about this because it attempts to circumvent Iwi buy-back rights through legislation? Right? Remember when the Seabed and Foreshore Legislation was used to override a Court decision about customary title? The Maori Party was formed. It’s President, Naida Glavish is Ngati Whatua.
The fishhook itself is here:
50I Application of Public Works Act 1981
(1)Nothing in sections 40 to 42 of the Public Works Act 1981 applies to land to be (or that may be) transferred, or to interests in land to be (or that may be) granted, under a transfer contract.
(2)Subsection (1) applies despite the powers exercised (and exercisable) by the Minister under this Part.
(3)Nothing in subsection (1) limits section 27(4A) of the Housing Restructuring and Tenancy Matters Act 1992.
Facilitation and implementation of social housing transactions
50J Objectives of Corporation for this Part
(1)The Corporation’s principal objectives for this Part are to facilitate the transaction process and to facilitate and implement social housing transactions.
(2)The principal objectives for this Part prevail over the Corporation’s other objectives.
So far I cannot find any comment from the Maori Party – their 2014 Housing Policy is here.
Secondly, they are seeking to provide legislative interpretation of “social housing”. It appears to be intended to cut off at the pass any Court challenge base don its meaning. 50D contains the new definition
50D Meaning and relevance of social housing reform objectives
(1)The social housing reform objectives are any 1 or more of the following:
(a)people who need housing support can access it and receive social services that meet their needs:
(b)social housing is of the right size and configuration, and in the right areas, for households that need it:
(c)social housing tenants are helped to independence, as appropriate:
(d)there is more diverse ownership or provision of social housing:
(e)there is more innovation and more responsiveness to social housing tenants and communities:
(f)the supply of affordable housing is increased, especially in Auckland.
It’s all about transactions baby. Transactions, not people. Not really.
UPDATE: Comments from Ms Turei here about transparency and the lack of a trtack record in that with this Government. Ms Bennett’s reassurances. Also a reminder that Horizon (Australian charity) is only looking at 500 houses. The government is flogging 2-3000