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No point in state houses

Written By: - Date published: 8:32 am, October 18th, 2014 - 72 comments
Categories: housing, national - Tags: , , , ,

There’s no point in state houses. Not according to the Nats anyway – here’s twenty dollar Bill English on the subject:

‘No point’ in new state houses – Bill English

Finance Minister Bill English says the proceeds from selling state houses are unlikely to be spent on new state houses and may go into the Consolidated Account.

“I mean, if we want less stock, there’s not much point in rebuilding stock with it” …

Bill plans to sell our houses to “anybody” (“We will just go to the market and see who turns up, basically”). “Anybody” isn’t going to build new affordable houses. Only governments do that. And the Nats pretending that there isn’t a desperate need for more affordable / state housing is just ludicrous. A few headlines this year:

State Housing waiting lists go through the roof
Urgent wait list for housing rises by 100
WHY CAN’T THIS FAMILY GET A STATE HOUSE?
Homeless family slam Govt move to quit state houses
Housing NZ waiting list rises
More homeless people sleeping in cars
Health implications of Auckland’s housing crisis debated
Wellington’s charities and council struggle to manage homeless
Social housing waitlist

In short, we need more state housing in NZ, but the Nats are determined to wash their hands of the whole business. It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that they simply don’t care.

72 comments on “No point in state houses”

  1. Penny Bright 1

    This proposed sell-off of State housing is PRIVATISATION for which this National Government has no electoral mandate.

    The answer, in my considered opinion, is the determined fight back of State tenants and supporters.

    Stay put – sign nothing that will enable your eviction – set up street level anti- eviction ‘leagues’ or the like.

    It’s not reliance on VOTING that will stop the privatisation of State housing (or anything else, for that matter).

    It’s the direct action of citizens that cannot be ignored!

    ‘Where the people lead – the politicians will follow ….’

    Penny Bright

    • Mr Nobody 1.1

      The “No electoral mandate” argument is weak. So many governments (Right & Left) have carried out changes with out an Electoral Mandate that the citizens just take as Business as usual.

      I agree re: people collectives are the best method to fight this however unless there is a significant protest action (eg 81′) then I doubt it would make a difference at a political level. However 81′ wasn’t the start of the Anti Apartheid movement but rather the pinnacle following years of minor protest that had introduced the idea to mainstream society so by the time tour occurred and the first protest happened the level of violence etc forced people to take sides/make a decision to act.

      I fear that we are likely to eventually see 81′ type level of protest once more however it may not be for several more years until mainstream kiwis reach the point they feel the need to act. Until then there will be a lot more suffering.

      • whateva next? 1.1.1

        …..and it will be too late, the solid infrastructure built up by previous generations will be owned by international corporations, along with even more land etc. etc.

        As long as people who believe that voting National (and Labour electorate/National Party vote, IS vote for National, sorry) is going to look after their wallets, accept it will not look after their society, then why complain years down the track? No point in whining later about a logical consequence to their own actions.

      • SPC 1.1.2

        The no mandate argument is quite strong, they promised no more asset sales and these are asset sales on a vast scale.

        Time to revive the no asset sales campaign, and hold the government to account. And that should include support for tenants continuing in their housing or being given an affordable place to go to. That would highlight cases where state houses are sold off and there is no affordable housing in the area for tenants to move into.

    • Lanthanide 1.2

      “Stay put – sign nothing that will enable your eviction – set up street level anti- eviction ‘leagues’ or the like.”

      Unfortunately vulnerable people in state houses don’t really have the resources, or inclination, to fight multi-year protests for principles they believe in, unlike yourself.

      • Murray Rawshark 1.2.1

        They’ve already started out in Glen Innes. We should help the movement grow, not dismiss it.

  2. Mr Nobody 2

    “It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that they simply don’t care.”

    Its not a decision I personally agree with but you have to ask why should they? They have just won an election where the majority of voters have just return them to power. This stance isn’t exactly out of left field for Nat thinking so its reasonable (from their perspective) that the majority of New Zealanders equally agree with the approach.

    The problem as I see it isn’t so much the National party but rather the values they represent have now become the mainstream view within New Zealand which means for those who have more “Socially” aware beliefs now represent a minority within NZ society.

    • karol 2.1

      those who have more “Socially” aware beliefs now represent a minority within NZ society.

      Actually, that doesn’t hold. The election only demonstrates positions of people who voted, and does not represent the dominant views of the whole of society.

      Around the same amount of people didn’t vote as voted for National.

      But the non-voters represent those with little voice in our corporate-MSM dominated world.

      • Tom Jackson 2.1.1

        Come on Karol. There’s no obvious reason to think that the people who didn’t vote have views that are radically different from those who did. History shows periodic episodes of idiocy, and it seems we’re in one now. Luckily, nothing is permanent in human affairs.

        • karol 2.1.1.1

          Then Simon Lusk has been wasting his time with attack politics, then? His idea being that attack politics puts off more potentially left wing voters than right wing ones…?

      • music4menz 2.1.2

        karol: every MMP election has delivered a result that ‘does not represent the dominant views of the whole of society’.

        Non-voters make a democratic choice not to vote. You may night like it that we don’t have compulsory voting and you may not like it that people choose not to vote but that is democracy.

        Non- voters have as much voice as anyone else in our society. The vote that they choose not to use is worth exactly the same as mine. They simply choose not to exercise that voice.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.2.1

          Sounds like they must be rational actors in a free market 🙄

        • Foreign Waka 2.1.2.2

          Sorry music, but a democracy is not some new game that is being downloaded for free. Firstly, many many people died so that people like you have the right to vote. Secondly, a democracy is a proactive concept and thus needs to be maintained by the majority of people to work – this means voting. Not to vote in protest using the justification that one uses a “democratic” right smacks of hypocrisy. The sad part is, that most who are not interested to contribute feel the urge to demand. Well, tough you get what is the outcome of neglect and laziness.

          • Tom Jackson 2.1.2.2.1

            Firstly, many many people died so that people like you have the right to vote.

            More fool them, it seems.

            • Foreign waka 2.1.2.2.1.1

              Superfluous and irrelevant to live in a free and democratic country? Well, there are plenty of examples you can choose where people kill because they live in an anarchy. Have a try, why don’t you? Latest hot choice of the day: Mexico.

        • Draco T Bastard 2.1.2.3

          Non-voters make a democratic choice not to vote.

          I don’t believe that to be true as voting isn’t a right but a civic duty. Terming it a right gives people an out from voting and this ends up harming the country.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.2.3.1

            +1

            It’s a good way to respect the sacrifices made for democracy.

          • KJT 2.1.2.3.2

            The increasing non-vote shows that less and less of us feel that our “representatives” represent us, and that voting makes any difference.

            “If voting made any difference it would be banned”. Mark Twain?

  3. Aerobubble 3

    Progressive taxation. Why?
    Affordable housing. Why?
    Wealthy people, who believe in a free people, a democracy of the people, by the people, for the people have no problem with progressive taxation or state housing. Now for sure Key is not getting rid of state housing or moving to flat taxes. But there is a very vocal anti-democratic rump in the media mostly that like injecting fascist memes into the public consciousness.

  4. Adrian 4

    I’m getting sick of hearing this bullshit about “the majority ” of people voted National, I haven’t got time to dig up the exact figures but only about 33-34% of eligible voters voted National, about the same number that it has been for decades, and this time it may well have been as low as 32%. In fact less people voted National this election than in 2011 and 2008. That is not a mandate to sell off State houses to offshore investors even masqueding as ” NZ company” by registering here. Watch this space.

    • Rodel 4.1

      Adrian- Another perspective is that 76-77% of people don’t know or don’t care so we may as well sell off their state houses, give their money to charter schools, etc.etc.
      I think the Key/English logic is that voter passivity implies mandate by default.

      National/ACT is better described as a ‘Partisan’ party than one of ‘National’ concern.

      Watch this space…betcha it’s Kiwibank next.

    • Mr Nobody 4.2

      Hi Adrian I understand your sentiment which is why I said “where the majority of voters” vs “majority of people or “majority of eligible voters”.

      The reality is though the of the people who chose to vote the majority of these chose to vote National.

      • wekarawshark 4.2.1

        No, even by your criteria the majority (51%) didn’t vote for National.

        We shouldn’t be supporting the rhetoric that they did, and should be using every opportunity to point out how many people didn’t vote National and that they don’t have a mandate.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 4.2.1.1

          They have the same mandate any elected government has: to rule in the best interests of all citizens, without fear or favour.

          That last bit, about favour, they’re having serious trouble with.

          • Treetop 4.2.1.1.1

            Shame voting is not down to circumstance which may arise, unemployment, homelessness, illness, fraud, natural disaster and what will arise e.g. old age.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 4.2.1.1.1.1

              The real shame is that better ways are a matter of simple fact: philosophies* that go back five thousand years or more (by historical and archaeological record) describe them, not to mention recent scientific findings.

              *not religions.

              • Treetop

                *not religions
                Past (not reincarnation) and present action or karma (cause and effect) is what I based my comment on.

    • Bob 4.3

      Then using your figures a hell of a lot less than 25% voted for Labour you can’t have it both ways.

  5. RedBaronCV 5

    Too arrogant to care about anyone.

    I’m sure Bill English has leapt at this as a place to get some money from. He borrowed $80 billion over the last 6 years so looks like he has to fund $40 bilion plus over the next 3 years without hurting the credit rating too much.

    This will give him $16b of it, and if he hasn’t already, I imagine that the likes of ACC and the Cullen fund will be required to invest all their funds in NZ govt stock which saves him going to market there plus any more stealth taxes he can dream up for the mass of the population. No top end tax raise remember.
    Possibly putting some obligation on kiwisaver funds and the like to hold a % of govt stock.

  6. bearded rawshark 6

    This issue, housing, highlights the difference between National and Labour.

    How the f#@$ did Labour end up wirh 25% and the Nats with 47%. I simply don’t believe people voted on this issue. (Though the Nats lied on this policy by omitting to say it was going to sell state houses because there was no point to them)

    If the Nats do start selling state houses there are votes to be mined here by Mr. Little when he takes over.

  7. Ad 7

    The entire central government housing stock will be privatized to NGOs and first home buyers. There is nothing we can do about it.

    Activists could consider joining Habitat for Humanity or the Salvation Army or other such groups if they wanted to help.

    But forget the policy contests. Forget party opposition. It’s no longer worth complaining. Best to operate and volunteer on a local level for quite a while.

    • Tracey 7.1

      what do you mean by first home buyers? more likely investors for some and developers for others.

      • Ad 7.1.1

        I have a strong hunch that Key will use the existing state housing stock for a mass selloff to first home buyers, using National’s $18,000 deposit election promise, and the Kiwisaver deposit scheme.

        A grand three-year effort to shore up the sons and daughters of the middle class, at the expense of the lower 25%.

        • bearded rawshark 7.1.1.1

          a la Thatcher….

        • Tracey 7.1.1.2

          hmmmmmm…

          a 20 something has come thru my house with her real estate date. she tells me he is financing her in. my home is on the market for over a million…. shes 20 something!!!!

          but without a register or criteria… in auckland the prices are so crazy genuine firsties wont get a look in…

    • SPC 7.2

      Yeah na, they will not be that bold, after all a mass offload of stock onto the market would collapse prices and hurt their invest for untaxed CG friends.

  8. Tracey 8

    I thought they did signal sell off of state houses?

    if they sell some in orakei it wont be an affordable house that replaces it… the changes to rma is a license to get greater pfofit to developers

    • rawshark-yeshe 8.1

      Maybe they can just use Collins to set up a direct line to Chinese investors .. cut all the smoke and mirrors and denials of it happening. I call bullshit on Key and English and their refusal to establish a purchasers’ register.

      I wrote a few weeks back of a professional friend with a client in China who flies in regularly with money borrowed at 0.5% in his homeland .. already he owns 50 residential houses in Auckland. No tax to pay; a complete non-contributor to NZ; but permitted to own as many houses as he wishes.

      • rawshark-yeshe 8.1.1

        And best we remember Shipley is Chairperson of the Chinese State owned bank that is clearing the way here of all obstacles to unlimited fjuture Chinese investment. Treasonous self-serving imho.

      • Tracey 8.1.2

        anecdotally a friend of mine was talking to a person at harcourts who told him property purchases are also being used to launder russian money… no idea if its true.

    • bearded rawshark 8.2

      hi Tracey-the changes to the RMA are a licence to stuff our best landscapes while lining the pockets of…you guessed it….developers and farmers.

    • SPC 8.3

      No they signalled a remix of their stock to better meet demand – more one bedroom places and more larger homes. Thus selling down the 3 bedroom stock to finance this.

      They also signalled offloading stock to social housing providers.

      But there was no sell down of state housing for the consolidated fund indicated, in fact they said there would not be asset sales.

  9. “I mean, if we want less stock …”

    There’s the line. Someone needs to actually ask English or Key, “but why do you assume we want less state housing stock?” because otherwise it’ll become common sense – “the government shouldn’t own housing, we don’t need this many state houses” then all of a sudden, privatisation of a vital public service, which New Zealand should be proud of, is upon us.

    • Chris 9.1

      Interesting how the line has shifted from “we need to sell off stock so we can invest in more appropriate housing for a greater number of people” to “we want less state housing stock”.

      When are we going to learn how to deal with the lies?

      When will our so-called Opposition do its job properly?

      For starters our opposition parties need to start showing some proper outrage towards Key and his henchman. I’m sick to death of opposition politicians, particularly from Labour, responding so tamely the message we get is that they agree with Key and the right-wing agenda.

      • Tracey 9.1.1

        where will the tenants go when the sallies cant afford to buy all the stock…

        homes with 4 to 6 people replaced by middle class childless 20 somethings?

  10. Adrian 10

    It is of increasing concern that a quasi-religous group is stealthfuly becoming the supplier and arbitrator of who gets and more importantly who doesn’t get access to essential services to the poor and vulnerable.

    • Tracey 10.1

      where will salvation army get billions to buy state houses? its a game. offer to ngos… then they cant afford to buy so you go to market… remember mum and dad firstt in energy share sales? same con.

      • Ad 10.1.1

        The Salvation Army will be eased into this great buy-up with extremely sharp public loans. Check out the terms for the Wiri prison, or the Transmisison Gully PPP, or the power company sells share bonus, or the Hobsonville Land Co deals to developers, or the Sky City deal or or or, etc etc etc.

        Key knows how to do business: front load huge subsidies to get the private sector to do public sector jobs. It’s been going on for 6 years.

      • Treetop 10.1.2

        I heard Major Campbell Roberts (from Salvation Army) on radio about 3 weeks ago. In 2010 Roberts had discussion with the government about taking over social housing (20% of HNZ stock). 4 years have passed, recently Roberts said that unless the housing system, worked better e.g. increasing the housing stock, affordable for the occupier and the dwelling meeting the need of the occupier, if this did not happen the current housing shortage would not be resolved. As well there had to be sufficent finance to take over running housing.

        The government just do not get it, that too many people cannot afford the rent, or a mortgage and that people need to live somewhere and that this is not in a car, a tent, someones sofa, a camp ground, or a boarding house with babies/kids as scabies and crabs are rampant in shared washing, bathing and toileting facilities. (I’ve had both).

        Housing cannot be run to gain a profit, those who are struggling the most, have the least. Nor can there be a chronic shortage of housing which causes misery to a family on many levels.

        I want these questions asked in parliament.

        How many people who receive the accommodation supplement require additional assistance from Work and Income e.g. TAS long term to pay the rent?

        Is rent the reason that food assistance was required from a foodbank or from a Work and Income food grant?

        What was spent on food and rent in the last 4 weeks?

        (Some sort of national survey would be required or those receiving any benefit, NZ Super or Working for Families).

  11. RedLogix 11

    Sod it – let them sell off state housing. Investors make a nice bundle on them usually.

    A very good moment for someone on the left (it won’t be Labour , they’re too busy stabbing each other in the back) – stepping up and saying – “If you cannot be bothered voting then your interests don’t count.”

    • wekarawshark 11.1

      lolz. We have to figure out which ones didn’t vote first.

    • dave 11.2

      yeah i dont know how many times i heard that on door step of state houses during the election i even told them keys going boot you out they just wont vote well they can go live under a bridge because that is what there none vote has got them

  12. Well be prepaired .We have three years of these bastards . So watch your backs.

  13. SPC 13

    The question is where the money placed into the consolidated fund from sales of state houses goes to.

    It may be to social housing providers. To subsidise their purchase of housing.

    One should ask National to quantify the cost in higher Accommodation Supplement subsidy to these former state house tenants or direct subsidy to social housing providers for lower cost rent (how will social housing providers afford the maintenance/upgrades etc otherwise). Or is the future upgrade of their social housing supposed to come from charitable donations?

    It appears to me the purpose is to achieve the goals of the 90’s via the backdoor. Those goals were market rate rents and sell down of state housing.

    If that is the case, then social housing providers to be squeezed between getting rents their tenants cannot afford or being dependent on charity to upgrade/renovate the properties.

    • Treetop 13.1

      There is nothing social about social housing.

      What about length of tenancy?
      Cost of insurance?

      The Sallies do a good job, they have had funding for alcohol and drug addiction treatment slashed. Sallies are not stupid, they know the government want to dump the harder people to house onto them without the required funding.

      Would you trust the government?

  14. SPC 14

    And remember after market rate rents and then on sale of state housing came Shipley’s indexing super down from 65 to 60% net average wage. So we know what Key’s government will do, 2017-2020, if re-elected for that term. After all its not increasing the age is it?

  15. Draco T Bastard 15

    In short, we need more state housing in NZ, but the Nats are determined to wash their hands of the whole business. It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that they simply don’t care.

    Wrong conclusion. They do care – they care about the rich becoming bigger bludgers through owning more homes which they can then rent out (at ever increasing rents) to those that can’t afford to buy a house.

  16. dave 16

    they will loot the Cullen fund they even require kiwi-saver funds to buy NZ government debt they will go anywhere where there is pools of capital because this economy is just a debt mountain there’s not much else this is the present and future the public voted for they were given a clear choice and they took the the pawn shop pay day lenders option. to hell with them !http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXcLVDhS8fM
    let not forget the open bank resolution policy to confiscate your bank book
    may be if they get kicked in the teeth hard enough they will get a spin and riot

    • One Anonymous Bloke 16.1

      I can’t see any way forward other than personally embodying Left wing values; let’s face it: we wrote the book on how to organise resistance to entropy and degradation.

      These Tories have no plan for the future: only greed.

      Meanwhile, on Earth, our values are more valuable than theirs.

  17. SPC 17

    One reason that National is not honest about its housing policy is that insiders have information they can use to make a profit.

    I still remember listening in on a conversation in 1990 prior to the election about knowledge of post election housing policy that had not and was not released to the public prior to that election.

    I passed on the info to Labour HQ but there was no subsequent Labour questioning of National’s housing policy intent, I knew then that Labour had given up.

  18. Descendant Of Sssmith 18

    Part of the reason they can get away with it is because the main opposition party no longer believes in state housing for life either.

    Why would National not think they have a mandate to sell off all the state housing.

    The lurch to the right continues, and continues and continues – aided and abetted by the very party who originally started building them.

    Labour does not believe in it’s own political history except as history.

    Ultimately they will need to lurch back to the left or be consigned to history themselves.

    And it’s not only the failure to believe in state housing before the election, the failure after continues.

    “Labour housing spokesman Phil Twyford, who has previously supported state house sales to community groups and iwi as long as total social housing numbers increased, attacked a statement by Mr English that the proceeds from state house sales might go into the Consolidated Account.

    “He won’t commit to increasing the number of state and social houses even though he admits we have ‘5000 people living in garages’,” Mr Twyford said.

    “Whether social housing is owned by Government or by the community housing organisations it doesn’t really matter, but we do need more houses.”

    Actually Phil it does matter as does the government’s expectation that the state absolves itself from the responsibility of looking after the most vulnerable by passing the responsibilities to do so to the social housing agencies.

    The trend towards church run housing and social organisations and schools is so Victorian it’s not funny. Particularly in an ever increasingly secular country.

    That our politics, and our public service, have been captured by such conservative viewpoints is sad indeed. I bet you can’t find any policy advice from the public service that says state housing is a good thing.

    So yeah it’s not that National have a mandate it’s that National and Labour are a cabal of like-minded individuals.

    The majority, by far, of parliament no longer have the interests of the poor and the sick and the worker at heart.

    • BM 18.1

      Part of the reason they can get away with it is because the main opposition party no longer believes in state housing for life either.

      Fantastic news.
      Less wet nursing, more self reliance, I like it.

    • Treetop 18.2

      The government cannot stand the fact that people living in a state house are so much better off than many of their voters when it comes to affordable housing.

  19. dave 19

    there house with plenty of rooms in st stevens ave parnell homeless could move in and piss on there finally groomed lawns

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