- Date published:
7:00 am, October 23rd, 2015 - 63 comments
Categories: housing, national, paula bennett, phil twyford, same old national, spin, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: crosby textor
Apparently the country is facing a crisis. A senior Minister who is a potential future leader of the National Party has been tasked with handling this crisis. And the threat must be considerable because she keeps talking about it.
I am not talking about climate change or escalating Government debt or plunging returns for the Dairy industry or falling education standards or child poverty. Yes folks we truly face a crisis. I am talking about choosy state house tenants.
Paula Bennett is on a campaign to rid the social housing list of these incredibly demanding tenants. From Stuff:
Bennett told a housing conference on Thursday morning the Government was considering a stand-down period for those who rejected state houses without good reason.
She said officials had told her over 400 people turned down properties in the last year for unacceptable reasons, such as “birds chirping in the trees next door, wanting a bigger back yard for a trampoline, and not liking the colour a door was painted”.
The number of anti bird chirping, bigger back yard wanting, door colour hating people is not clear. Many of the people may have wanted to remain in their neighbourhood rather than move. And when you read the speech itself you will see that Paula said that 414 families had turned down properties in the last year “including for reasons we don’t think are good and sufficient”. So the number of anti bird chirping, bigger back yard wanting, door colour hating people could actually be very few. It is a shame that the media did not pick up on this most important fact.
Even if all 414 people had an unreasonable reason to accept the house that was offered this does not represent a large drain of resources. Presuming that each case took one hour of an official’s time and that the cost to the Crown was $50 dollars an hour (including wages and costs to the state) the total amount involved was in the realm of $20,000. Housing New Zealand last year spent $188 million on personnel and other expenses so, presuming Paula’s claim is valid, the cost represents 0.01% of the total expense or a rather small portion of her annual salary.
She has talked about this issue before. The reluctance of an existing tenant to transfer to somewhere away from their neighbourhood is understandable. But they present a guilt edged opportunity to Paula and National to get their supporters hot under the collar at the thought of poor people not unconditionally accepting what they are being offered. This is Crosby Textor quality dog whistle at its finest.
And Paula also also talked about how social housing providers have to be sustainable businesses. I take it she thinks they should charge as much rent as the market will bear so that they can continue to purchase overpriced Auckland houses. She said that social housing providers should instead of depending on grants be commercial. According to Paula the Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity should have a similar business model to this guy. Get the feeling that this Government’s supply of humanity is running out?
Of course the housing crisis is endemic and pervasive. National needs to beat up on some group to divert attention. And its base is not interested in helping people, only in making themselves feel superior.
Phil Twyford was thrown out of Parliament yesterday for calling Bennett a hypocrite. I hope the opposition form a queue.