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NRT: Disgraceful

Written By: - Date published: 11:05 am, June 23rd, 2015 - 11 comments
Categories: class war, housing - Tags: , , ,

I/S at No Right Turn:


Since coming to power in 2008, the National government has sold more than a thousand state houses and tightened access to the remainder considerably. The net result? People not getting the assistance they need:

Families in urgent need of a state house are waiting twice as long compared to 18 months ago, Labour says.

The new figures also show an applicant waited 1,055 days to get into a house – although officials say that came after the person rejected a property because it had birds nesting in a nearby tree.

Labour’s Social Development spokeswoman Carmel Sepuloni said the information released highlighted the struggles of people who often had nowhere else to go.

“The average wait time for those in urgent need of a state house was 55 days in September 2013. New documents released under the OIA show that number had blown out to 129 days by March 2015. That’s disgraceful.

She’s right: it is disgraceful. The purpose of Housing New Zealand is to make sure everyone has a roof over their heads. And under National, they are failing. And its not just a problem for Housing New Zealand and its Minister, because this failure imposes costs on all of us. Kids without a home are less likely to go to school (or switch schools often, and risk falling through the cracks). People without a home are more likely to end up in hospital. What Bill English saves by penny-pinching on state housing, we pay for in higher health, education and welfare costs. It would be interesting to see if they’ve ever bothered to quantify those externalities, and if not, why not.

11 comments on “NRT: Disgraceful ”

  1. Disgraceful indeed – and the costs are great, borne by all – but most especially by those disadvantaged, at the business end of this policy.

  2. wyndham 2

    Today on RNZ, English (minister of housing) is urging Housing NZ to get cracking on improving “run down” state houses ! The gall of this man knows no bounds ! He’s been flat out selling off state houses and if that’s not enough, has been demanding HNZ pay a hefty contribution to government coffers every year. Like millions of dollars contribution.

  3. adam 3

    I have to deal with New/New/New housing New Zealand. How many times can a government change how a department operates whilst it’s in government. We are up to the third time now or is it four I really lost track – I would have thought that was just being destructive – or is that just me?

    Ok not my point, my point is I spent 45mins on the phone the other day, to ask why they weren’t doing something, that was policy/regulation/law for a person. And you know the response. “There are more needy people out there”. I hit 5 of their own criteria for crisis, and that was there response. Then the person had the gall to get upset when I called them obtuse. It was 45 min of talking to a puerile officious know it all.

    I felt like i was in a scene straight out of “The Master and Margarita” . I had to pass the person on to another organisation – because we just can’t work with this department in the time frames we have. Even at it’s worse, IRD have never been as bad as housing NZ. That is a statement I never, never thought I would utter.

    OK link to my book reference “The Master and Margarita” – It is a book more people should read.


  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    It would be interesting to see if they’ve ever bothered to quantify those externalities, and if not, why not.

    Of course neither Bill English nor National have done so as their whole purpose is to increase poverty so as to make people more desperate so that they’ll work for less than they do now and be thankful that they’ve got a job. By the latter bit there I mean that people will kowtow to the boss and not ask questions so that the boss can do whatever they want and get away with it.

  5. AsleepWhileWalking 5

    “The purpose of Housing New Zealand is to make sure everyone has a roof over their heads”

    A few years ago their website stated the purpose of HNZ is to help those disadvantaged in the housing market. It was never their job to house everyone.

  6. G C Cameron 6

    I live in Christchurch. I’m renting (alone) a 2 bedroom house on a subdivided section for $360 per week. Since moving almost 4 months ago – lots of problems have arisen.

    The house was built in the 1920’s – there has been no insulation put in since. The house is weatherboard. There are two fireplaces in the house – both have been sealed (one poorly) and the chimneys taken down. A small heat-pump is the only form of heating. It’s totally inadequate and unable to even heat the room it’s located in. Most of the curtains are thin. It’s a freezing cold house.

    The hot tap in the bathroom isn’t functional. The shower has such bad water-pressure it’s difficult to get clean. Due to having no extractor fan, mould on the bathroom roof is a constant problem and removing it involves flaking ceiling paint.

    The kitchen has no knife and fork draw. The kitchen has no draws actually. There is almost no bench space. Certainly no dishwasher or extractor fan.

    The hot-water cylinder’s element is probably broken. The tap water is always so hot it could literally give 3rd degree burns. This has probably added to my over $600 power bill for the month. The list could go on… …really, on and on…. unsealed oven, power lines, leaking garage, leaking window frames, etc

    I contacted my Rental Agency and advised them of the problems. The problem is the owners wont spend a cent. So, I contacted tenancy – they told me I could NOT withhold rent but could file a 14 day notice for the above problems to be fixed. If the problems were not fixed after 14 days – it could be booked into court. The process I was advised would take months and months while still requiring me to pay rents.

    So I informed the Rental Agency of this and told them I’d be willing to go though this process. I advised though I’d prefer to give 2 weeks notice. They agreed to 3 weeks notice letting me brake the initial 12 month tenancy. I’m moving on Thursday to a 2 bedroom unit ($320 per week).

    Heaps of rental properties are shocking here. From my perspective standards obviously need improving. Home owners forget that every time a renter moves it costs money; Letting Fee, Rent in Advance, Carpet Cleaning, Relocation Cost, Time off Work, Extra Bond, etc. I moved from my last two rentals due to the owners putting them on the market and cashing in. Both times through rental agencies. Both times the owners didn’t even live in ChCh/NZ.

    I’ve been sick twice since living here. First just after I moved in, then a month later. It’s hard to sleeps due to the cold conditions. I’m thankful to God I’m moving on Thursday – woop woop yo’ll 🙂

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1

      Clearly the market is having an off-day. Hope the next place is better. Good luck.

      • G C Cameron 6.1.1

        Thanks ‘One Anonymous Bloke’, I hope it’s better too. It’s a spacious unit compared to some others I’ve viewed and seen on TradeMe. It’s hard to know if places are insulated and airtight. With poor rental standards and pressure to keep a roof over ones head – it’s surprisingly easy to sign up to a lemon.

        The above living situation has been draining both mentally and financially, especially with regards to power bills. Perhaps I’ve learnt a lesson about older houses and suitable housing. However, I also know here in Christchurch single person renters are hard pushed to find quality housing for less than $400 per week.

        Regarding the ‘market having a day off’ – you raise a good economic point. I am voting with my money and choosing to leave this awfully problematic property tomorrow. After I move tomorrow and finish the cleaning on Friday, I’m sure I’ll feel a lot better about things.

        I just totally see how people can get trapped in a poor housing spiral. I’m lucky that I’m able to escape, all be it an expensive escape. Legislation need to be passed aimed at diminishing the commonality of situations like mine.

        If a business can’t provide services people want, it adapts or goes out of business. If landlords don’t want to maintain properties they should go out of business and sell their properties to people who can afford to maintain them. Many landlords benefit from government subsidies in the form of social accommodation supplementation – paid through renters, so excuses wear thin.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Well said.

          I can all too easily imagine the families facing these conditions.

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