Paula Bennett and the social housing crisis

Written By: - 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:

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.

63 comments on “Paula Bennett and the social housing crisis”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    guilt edged

    Serendipitous malapropism or deliberate? Either way it’s gold 🙂

    [I think I will claim it as deliberate 🙂 – MS]

  2. Tracey 2

    On Prime News their reporter did a follow up. Requested the list of all the reasons people had turned down offers. The Minister’s office could only provide the ones Bennett referred to her in speech.

    TV1 this morning had no such rider to their story.

    Bennett used words like “soft” and examples of seemingly silly reasons. Again, the message is clear. Beneficiaries are bludgers and we are not hard enough on them. This is actually a form of bullying. Using a superior position to malign and stigmatise an entire group

    It’s time for ordinary people to say “enough”.

    For most kiwis all that stands between them and becoming a bludger who needs to be treated more harshly is a letter from their boss.

    Smug self righteousness doesnt stand up against realities.

    • b waghorn 2.1

      Goff just said on henry that they couldn’t get the list either ,so its probably a load of shit concocted by pullya ladderup

      • dukeofurl 2.1.1

        Shes a star pupil of Key though, where she has learned to say these sorts of things

        • AmaKiwi 2.1.1.1

          Spare a thought for Paula’s dear friends. For example, this couple who own and commute between their residences:

          1. their mansion in Remuera
          2. their luxury beach home in Omaha
          3. their Maui luxury holiday home
          4. their London flat

          Plus the country’s poor pay taxes (GST, at very least) for

          5. this couple’s fully serviced large house in Wellington.

          The rich CAUSE poverty and the housing shortage, NOT the poor.

          If this one couple’s residences were converted to flats and allocated to poor families (as happened during the French and Russian revolutions), they could accommodate 50, 60, maybe 70 people instead of just 2.

          The wealthy CAUSE poverty by commandeering assets that should be shared.

  3. Rosemary McDonald 3

    Excuse me, Auntie Paula. What are “housing support products”?

    Piles?

  4. Rosemary McDonald 4

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/73301604/House-homeless-people-before-treatment-Canadian-psychologist

    Who also says….”he opposed moves by governments to sell off state housing to other organisations, as has been mooted in New Zealand.

    “There’s a certain equality that the presence of government guarantees, that the minute you move away from that kind of legislative approach, there are risks involved.

    “It’s true that they [private organisations] may be efficient, but there’s no way that the government can’t efficiently run social housing – lots of governments do.”

    Got that Auntie Paula….lots of governments run social housing efficiently.

    No need to sell.

  5. nzsage 5

    C’mon people surely we all know poor people are not permitted to have values or choices. Bennett is simply following her parties social policy of “beggars can’t be choosers”

    • Detrie 5.1

      I think this sums it up well. In the eyes of ‘rich, right wing’ sycophants like Bennett, ‘these poor people’ who may be under state assistance, perhaps on minimum wages, suffer health issues etc, inherently have fewer rights or choices. They can rightly be pushed around and told what to do, where to go. This is not a sign of a caring society.

      Still, I suspect the real aim is just to show strength, push people around to prepare the way for the rich, ‘more efficient’ Auzzie property developers grab more state assets…

  6. Rosemary McDonald 6

    Phil called her a ‘hippo what’?

    • Tracey 6.1

      Ouch. Try to stay away from body image abuse. You know what I mean.

      • Rosemary McDonald 6.1.1

        Apologies.

        • Rosemary McDonald 6.1.1.1

          Ah! Hypocrite. ……sanctimonious person, humbug, pretender, deceiver,

          (“sprays shit everywhere” fits in nicely !)

          And Phil refused to retract that?

          Onya, Phil.

    • b waghorn 6.2

      Could be more a statement of here nature calling her a hippo , hippos are round and cuddly looking but spray shit everywhere and are one of the most dangerous beasties known to man.

    • Smilin 6.3

      Cant help laughin at that ,maybe focusing on Obesity would give her more cred

  7. Gabby 7

    No doubt the opposition will be using question time to follow this up.

    • dukeofurl 7.1

      Trouble with that it gives her more chances to repeat her falsehoods and the speaker will let her get away with it.

      • Tracey 7.1.1

        yup. any opportunity to repeat the meme, feed the myth,a nd get more state owned assets into private hands. All of which makes it much harder for us to uphold our obligations under Human rights law, domestic and international.

        Of course the Opposition could say

        “imagine if past governments were as heartless as this one? We wouldn’t have Key, Joyce or Bennett cos they all relied on state support to reach the giddy heights that allow them to bash the vulnerable to keep their high paying jobs…”

        Did Brownlee qualify as a teacher at a time when students were paid to train?

        • dukeofurl 7.1.1.1

          I remember him as not having any qualifications to teach.

          The relatives booted him out of the family timber business, so he went to teach woodwork , having ‘ trade experience’

  8. dukeofurl 8

    I wonder if that number includes those who are being moved out of larger homes ( where they have spent a large part of their life) to smaller units?

    have you also noticed how national ministers love to say many departmental decisions are “operational and therefore not their problem”. Yet Paula seems to love to get into operational matters like a pig in its muck.

  9. Heather tanguay 9

    What an extremely horrible person Bennett is, she is crass and rude..
    Wha t about the people in the houses that have been complaining for months about the cold, mould, damp, rot and water dripping in the homes, I guess it is all OK for them because they should be grateful she has allowed them a house

    • CR 9.2

      That’s the great thing about the ‘investment approach’ – one person’s mould-filled government owned death trap is another person’s ‘Double A rated government guaranteed investment product’.

      This new language worries me more than the posturing about taking families off waiting lists.

      Long term social housing contracts as ‘financial instruments’ – the ‘partnering’ of social service providers with consortiums of financiers? Human needs-backed ‘securities’? Next step…mental health bonds, or human suffering-backed securities. The financialisation of social misery.

  10. savenz 10

    Yep, ask under the official information act about the refusing people. Are they real?

    Probably not!

    And even if they were, mentally ill/ mentally incompetent people probably need a state house even more!

    • Sacha 10.1

      Nah, don’t play her game. Opposition needs to focus on the lack of progress providing more houses and what they would do about it. Not get diverted in cunning sideshows like this. OIA would be deliberately delayed in any case and the public will have long moved on.

      • Sabine 10.1.1

        so you say to just leave her assertions unchallenged? And the public will just move on so no harm was done?

        Nah, not only do I want to know how many people have refused housing, but also why they refused housing.
        I would also like to know how many people are on waiting lists for housing, how many houses are empty waiting to be ‘sold’ or ‘moved in to the right place’.
        How much money was not spend on upgrading houses that are moldy, damp, uninsulated.
        How many of these damp moldy houses are killing the people living in them a little bit every day.
        And how many of the houses refused where in fact damp moldy and uninsulated and not maintained.

        I do not think that we should just let Mrs. Bennett slander people without at least providing proof that her assertions are correct and not just another gratuitous round of Bene bashing. And I am the first one to admit that Mrs. Bennett at least excels at that, Bene Bashing she does well.

        • Sacha 10.1.1.1

          I’m saying don’t get caught by the same game that the left has lost consistently for the past 8 years. Of course people are free to carry on doing the same stuff, but it will produce the same result. We all deserve better than that.

        • Tracey 10.1.1.2

          i wanna know how many she has refused housing and her reasons 😆

        • Mike the Savage One 10.1.1.3

          You may also be interested in this:

          “Social Allocation System Housing New Zealand assesses need for state housing through the Social Allocation System (SAS).

          The Government approved changes to SAS from 1 July 2011 to improve Housing New Zealand’s ability to identify applicants whose current accommodation puts them and their family at risk, and to ensure that state homes are allocated to the households in the greatest need.

          Since 1 July 2011 Housing New Zealand has had the mandate to only house new applicants with a priority need (‘A’ and ‘B’ applicants). Those with a lower priority (previously ‘C’ and ‘D’ applicants) are no longer eligible to be placed on the waiting list for state housing. These applicants are instead offered information about their options outside of state housing and the support available to them such as the Accommodation Supplement. ”

          See page 17 of the ‘Briefing for the Incoming Minister of Housing’ (2013):
          http://www.hnzc.co.nz/our-publications/briefing-to-the-incoming-minister/briefing-for-the-minister-of-housing-2013/briefing-for-the-incoming-minister-2013.pdf

          Since July 2011 Housing NZ no longer takes persons and households onto the waiting list that used to be accepted onto the list before, e.g. those living in private rentals deemed too expensive and unaffordable, or otherwise unsuitable. So they culled thousands off the list then already. This is something the media fail to take note of, or fail to remember, that is if any of the young media hacks now employed were already working for the MSM then.

          The government has quietly done this and never talks about it. The ones now on the list are only the tip of the iceberg of those in need, and this is how Paula Benesh*it now treats them, selecting a few that complained and misrepresenting the truth, by exaggerating and distorting. Shame on that woman, she is the most abominable of the whole lot of, I think.

          • Rosemary McDonald 10.1.1.3.1

            “….misrepresenting the truth, by exaggerating and distorting”

            Exactly what the government did with the Family Carers Case. Huge numbers, massive costs…”bankrupt the country” narrative. Used this to undermine over a decade of legal wrangling, removing entitlements and breaching NZBORA. For anyone interested….recently released data backs up the claim that they lied. Misrepresented. Whatever euphemism one prefers.

            Trouble is. It was under Labour that that case went to the Human Rights Review Tribunal. With those big, scary numbers.

            Change of government. Ministry of Health lost in three hearings.

            During that time, Tony Ryall would be interviewed and it was clear to me he did not have a clue about what he was talking about. Not a clue.

            When pushed, (and we did) the Beehive boffins sent up to the Misery of Health for a “Senior Adviser”…who would spout the same figures.

            I am pretty sure that it wouldn’t matter who was the Minister.
            I think the control comes from within the Ministry….the bureaucrats, the former bureaucrats who have moved into the private sector. And ruling over them all….the true power…that we never see….but you can kinda smell the stench of them and their work.

            This is in no way giving the likes of Bennett a pass. She and the others in the inner circle are happy to fire the bullets….

            P.S. Someone with a good knowledge of HNZ, the Ministry and the ‘sector’ might want to see how many former Ministry workers now hold plum private sector positions….or vice versa.

          • tracey 10.1.1.3.2

            like hospital waiting lists, you change the criteria so a bunch no longer qualify and then say you have reduced waiting ties

  11. roy cartland 11

    These moaning slackers! Why didn’t they just become Defense Ministers and spend NZ’s money sensibly, like this guy?

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/73310315/gerry-brownlee-spent-2100-a-day-on-5star-hotel-room

    • dukeofurl 11.1

      I like the nonsense being pedaled about ‘having to stay there’.

      SIngapore arranged accomodation, well send the bill to them. These sort of places are just ‘options’.

      The idea that a top level conference organised by a government would charge its invited ministerial guests seems strange.

      • savenz 11.1.1

        @dukeofurl – good point. Not likely to be on government business more a private junket.

      • Naki man 11.1.2

        Phil Goff says the accommodation is arranged for everyone at the same hotel the conference is held, he says its not Gerry’s fault.

        • Tracey 11.1.2.1

          no other hotels in the city? Goff has been sucking on the public teet a long time too… when the right use the left to bolster their point something is wrong

  12. Hami Shearlie 12

    Paula Bennett – the Marjorie Dawes of the National Party – come to think of it Marjorie Dawes (Fat-Fighters from “Little Britain”) is a loving and caring person compared to Paula – but they do look very very alike!

    • Rosemary McDonald 12.1

      Marjorie Dawes …Marjory Daw, from the nursery rhyme….

      Can be quite seditious, nursery rhymes….

  13. Olwyn 13

    Paula Bennett and John Key appear to have a good cop/bad cop routine going – the perfect instrument for othering a group. We do not have austerity in NZ because those on whom it is inflicted are excluded from the word “us.” Bennett invites the middle class to view the targeted group as stupid scum while Key assures them that they are being treated decently. Hence, if you are not a member of the targeted group, you are free to despise these people without feeling guilty, since you are assured that they are “being looked after.” It is a dangerous and divisive game that these guys are playing – the reactivation of a colonising history.

    • Anne 13.1

      It is a dangerous and divisive game that these guys are playing.

      They are both asking for it… and one day someone will snap and give it to either one or the other… or both. In all honesty, I will not be able to dredge up even a smidgen of sympathy for them.

    • Tracey 13.2

      plus 1

  14. linda 14

    Remember this is the woman who bought and owned her first house on the dpb we tax payers helped and got. This. Evil selfish witch on to the property ladder I think we paid for her kids as well
    Only for her she’s makeing sure the ladder is up i can’t stand her fucken cow and she is a hippo. It is decisive i honest ly hope she and key. Get What they deserve

    • Treetop 14.1

      You forgot that she also got the training incentive allowance for her social work degree.

      A couple weeks ago Liston House in Auckland got a miserable 2 million to temporarily house 120 more homeless people. Imagine what 12 or 20 million could do.

      Bennett and Key do not have any sensible ideas on how to manage HNZ or social housing. All English does is grab what profit HNZ makes and Smith blames the RMA and council policy for homes not being built quickly enough, because they are too costly to build.

  15. Treetop 15

    As of 2 weeks ago there were 410 empty properties in Auckland and 1324 in the rest of NZ. A total of 1734 nation wide. (Source Story on TV 3).

    Of these properties I would like to know why they are all empty?
    1. How many of these properties, those on a waiting list would accept?
    2. How many extra HNZ homes have been built by the government in the last 7 years?
    3. How many people paying market rent have been shifted on by HNZ in the last 3 years?

    That should keep Bennett busy.

    There is about a month delay for a urgent (homeless) housing applicant to be offered a HNZ home, (I think this is too long to wait if you are in the last trimester of pregnancy and sleeping in your car or if you have parkinson disease and sleeping on the street).

    HNZ housing has become like a cemetery, it is lifeless, non functioning and now to be feared by those who have the misfortune to have anything to do with HNZ.

    or

    A person has no choice who they are buried next to in a cemetery.

    On Monday RNZ just after 9 am I listened to Moira from Life Wise and a Canadian called Sam from Pathways to Housing, both talked about housing the homeless.

    Moira raised what people want, resources and capacity, that there was no direct policy, strategy and no homeless accountability by the government e.g. a register.

    Sam raised a Housing First Programme (HFP) in Canada. Place a person in a home, the IMPORTANT PART, the right level of support, SUPPORT being a broker for the housing applicant and the wrap around services they require e.g. mental health, addiction, employment, rent subsidies, suitable property. 80% – 90% of placements are successful and people are not excluded from being able to shift into another property.

    I would like to ask Sam his view on:
    How to fix HNZ?
    The way the waiting list is managed?
    What HFP do when a tenant they place is not being a good neighbour?

  16. Draco T Bastard 16

    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.

    It’s probably the same family and of course the MSM didn’t pick up on it – can’t be a cheerleader for putting the boot in to the poor if you employ facts.

    Get the feeling that this Government’s supply of humanity is running out?

    Nope as it never had any to start with. It is, quite simply, psychopathic.

    Of course the housing crisis is endemic and pervasive.

    Actually, it’s systemic/ The whole point of the market system is to price things out of peoples ability to afford it so as to decrease demand and use of resources. Our present socio-economic system is pretty much designed to create poverty and shortages so as to enrich a few people.

  17. Smilin 17

    “Get the feeling that this Government’s supply of humanity is running out?”
    Clearly they have none and its been that way since Muldoon in the National corp
    All the state house tenants should form an association or better still a union affiliated one to find out firstly who is scabbing off the govt housing secondly to put pressure directly on the govt hopefully with the support of all the opposition in parliament and political parties not in there
    This idea could be used right across the spectrum of us in this country who are the victims of this govts policies
    Also to get a more active interaction of those who see voting as a powerless exercise
    And basically shake the house of cards to the ground

  18. Sacha 18

    When people are desperately seeking a roof over their head, I doubt they have much energy to spare to form an organisation to represent their interests.

  19. Mike the Savage One 19

    While Jesus turned water into top quality wine, Paula Benesh*t is an expert that always promises to turn shit into something really promising. She once shat on the beneficiaries, for instance by releasing private details about two “stroppy” solo parents, challenging her policies, now she is shitting on the homeless and “spoiled” wannabe tenants. All that generously dispensed fertile goodness will soon show the results this wonderful government is promising with their 24/7 mantra.

    Yes, tenants are just a problem, they must be given a firm and stern message, that they have it sooo good, they live in “the best country” in the world. Others that come here as refugees are more appreciative of the available state homes, that was suggested by a news item on TV last night. Divide and rule, that is the way to sort them out, put one up against the other, and if any dare challenge the quality of a home and neighbourhood, one strike and you are out.

    Down the ladder, give them an extra push down. Do not let them come back up the ladder too soon. If they don’t like it, go back to the park, the caravan, garage or boarding house. Sleep on the couch with friends.

    And community housing providers, how ungrateful and useless they are, become true full-blooded “developers”, just as we like them, at least make deals with them, and learn to make profits, rather than rely on government hand-outs.

    Problems solved, take it or bugger off.

    P.S.: True story is, they have too few homes suitable to live in, so they make sure no dissent is raised, by those that are offered a home, no matter whether faulty, leaky, cold or damp and next to a busy motorway. And the rest can wait, patiently wait, as it will in the end only be developers, and profit focused “investors” that the government will choose to work with, to build homes, likely to be more like batteries for chickens, of the human kind. In Auckland they are already changing plans to allow multi-storey, multi unit dwellings no larger or smaller than 30 sqm per unit, with almost NO storage, with NO required dwelling mix. This seems to be under discussion during Auckland Unitary Plan hearings at present.

    • Draco T Bastard 19.1

      multi unit dwellings no larger or smaller than 30 sqm per unit, with almost NO storage, with NO required dwelling mix.

      I lived in a flat once that was about 25sqm and it was huge. Bathroom, laundry, kitchen and living area. I couldn’t use up all the storage area in that flat if I tried.

      Here’s the thing – we actually need denser living so as to become sustainable and it’s not really that bad. In fact, many people actually prefer it. There’s good reasons why apartments around the world go for million dollar prices.

      You seem to be one of these people who think that one size fits all and that size, as far as housing goes, is a stand alone 200sqm house with a garage and a car.

    • keyman 19.2

      we have already had taste of the future when human beings lose all support systems
      shoot em ups down at the winz office Bennett is playing a very dangerous game

      • Madeleine 19.2.1

        Calm down, Sword is in the right hand. I don’t like fairy pants………the more confirmation I get, the worst he looks.

        I don’t like double standards, especially coming from Mr Squeaky Clean – I never do anything wrong.

        It pisses me off.

  20. Mike the Savage One 20

    Hah, one size fits all is what we seem to be getting in Auckland, Draco (30 sqm being 5x6m). I expect at least a housing and dwelling mix, and a minimum percentage of truly affordable housing. Also do I expect a bit of common ground, green space and gardens for tenants.

    I have also once lived in a 26 sqm student flat for a single person, it was certainly not “huge”. So you must be an extremely “humble” person happy with just a suit case to spread out and otherwise no need for much else to live from and with. Good luck for you, but most people tend to expect a little bit more than that.

    I am no Nimby at all, as I actually support some densification of a suitable good standard and quality, in the right locations and with an enforced dwelling MIX. And being informed about what goes on with the PAUP, I know what I am talking about.

    It is the developers running the show, and they want to maximise profits by building as high and as dense as possible, to fit as many tiny units into a development as they can. You are supporting them, I suppose. That goes hand in hand with the growth agenda to increase the population in Auckland to 2.5 million. That must be “sustainable”, I suppose, I wonder where the extra water will come from, and what the Waikato district will say. Good luck with that.

  21. Helen Houliston 21

    I am sick and tired of all this B.S toing and frowing. Meantime, folks are getting sick and are dying spiritually, mentally and physically bit by bit day by day. I remember studying the welfare state and M.J . Savage.
    While i would hate to see an unnecessary dependence on the state, we need to show some humanity and ensure all kiwis have access to warmth food and shelter.
    At least people would have a choice instead of this constant beneficiary bashing.When will it stop? enough of the grandstanding Paula Bennett get f***ing proactive. After all actions speak louder than words.And what’s the opposition doing??? What a pack of whimps .Not the Labour party my parents believed in.

  22. Rosetta Wright 22

    And how did this two faced woman get her start in life she was a single parent on a benefit living in state housing in which she brought. Oh how some of these stuck up people forget where they came from. Shit I needed to move to a new town to be closer to a Hospital for myself and my son as we both had cancerous tumors and applied for state housing and was told I could not get one as I already had a roof over my head even though I lived 90 min away from nearest hospital and was needing to be there at least 4 times a week. They told me the best chance of getting on the waiting list was to shift myself and my 3 children into a caravan in someones back yard closer to the hospital. What and have CYFS on my case I don’t think so.

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