Paula Bennett improves supply of housing, or does she?

Written By: - Date published: 4:02 pm, September 19th, 2016 - 74 comments
Categories: housing, paula bennett, spin, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: ,

John Key Paula Bennett

The National Party smorgasbord of measures that will improve housing supply is being rolled out and will make a vital contribution to solving this most pressing of issues.

Or will it?

The latest measure announced by Paula Bennett is the purchase of a Motel to provide emergency beds.  But a closer inspection of the details of the deal suggest that the net contribution to the housing supply will be zero and at a considerable cost.

From the Herald:

Housing New Zealand has bought a South Auckland motel to help meet the area’s housing shortage – but ironically the existing residents will have to move out to make room for the homeless.

A spokesman said the agency bought the 10-unit Cimarron Motel in Waterview Rd, Takanini, as “part of our work to make more housing available in Auckland for those who require it urgently”.

But the motel was already being used for long-stay accommodation, and former resident Roland Stehlin said he was worried about what would happen to the remaining residents.

“There’s an elderly couple there who have been there 11 years, they have nowhere to go,” he said.

“We’ve got a family that’s in the house [formerly the manager’s house]. Their kids are all going to the school there. The last I heard was apparently they are going out to Pukekohe, now they have to find some way of getting their kids into school there.”

Previous owner Kamal Matta, who bought the property for $1.6 million in April last year, said most of the previous residents had already moved out.

“Four families are there. The others have all left,” he said.

So a motel originally used for long stay accommodation was sold and seven units stood empty during the sale process.  The purchase contract actually made things worse for the supply of housing in the area.  And a further four families will be moved on to make room for others once the sale goes through.

The net contribution to Auckland’s housing stock will be zero and the cost will be presumably significantly greater than $1.6 million.

This may provide a good photo op and a headline to spin but this is contributing nothing to the housing crisis.

74 comments on “Paula Bennett improves supply of housing, or does she?”

  1. mosa 1

    Yeah well its Paula Bennett and the National parties response to this major situation, every time they try and put a sticking plaster on it wont stay on the cut.

    Nothing concrete to ease the plight of homeless families at all .
    Its a bloody disgrace and an embarassment and she is out of her depth.

  2. UncookedSelachimorpha 2

    The best this government can do is incompetent tinkering with the very shortest-term emergency housing – and they make noise as if this was actually responsible government in action.

    The underlying question of why we have so many unhoused or poorly housed people in the first place is the big issue that is ignored by this government entirely.

  3. Anne 3

    Could someone make a list of all the crackpot plans Paula Bennett has come up with thus far in her attempts to alleviate the housing crisis? Preferably in order of announcement. I need a good laugh today.

    OK. It’s not a laughing matter but sometimes…

  4. Sabine 4

    so we need to sell State Houses in order to buy Motels?
    Well, the PM is Minister of Tourism, is he not? Minister of Misery Tourism, it follows him where ever he goes.

    Must be that Rockstar Economy.

    • Red 4.1

      if other people moved on and are housed through their own private means of course it increases housing stock for those who require housing via state assistance, unless your measure is the state should provide everybody a free house or subsidised state house Similarly it increases the availability of emergency short term accomodation , i.e. Simply looking at this strategy from an all houses is perspective is silly

      • Sabine 4.1.1

        yes. dear.

        1. sell state house
        2. kick people living in state houses to the curb/ditch/car/tent/shithole
        3. have Winz send people to live in garages, ditches, cars/tent/shitholes
        4.subsidize said garages, ditches, cars, tents, shitholes via the Accomodation Benefit
        5. send people who have no housing provided, not even shitholes subsidized by the Accomodation Benefit to live for a week or three in a Motel.
        6. charge 1200$ per week to people who have no housing to live a week or three in a Motel.
        7. endebt people who have no housing nor shitholes paid for by the taxpayer with thousands of dollars worth of ;emergency housing’
        8. Profit – cause Rock Star Economy and Bill English needs something to gloss over stinking rivers, poisoned tab water leaving thousands of people with the shits at home for weeks, and so on.

        yes. dear.
        rejoice National Party Voter, this is your government, nothing but shite comes from them. But then hey, some do well selling shit.

        • Leftie 4.1.1.1

          +1 Sabine

        • mickysavage 4.1.1.2

          Yep the payment arrangements for the motel will be interesting.

          Maybe the government think that this presents a good business opportunity?

          • Sabine 4.1.1.2.1

            Is this not what has happened last time? that the cost accrued by the ’emergency housed’ where put on the income side of the ledger?

            Somehow this must be accoutend for?
            does the Motel need now extensive renovations before it can be inhabitable by our houseless and how long will the renovations take?
            and how valuable is that Land the motel sits on? 🙂
            why is the Ministry interfering in the free market?

            how many people will she put up in that motel? 6 bunkbeds per unit?
            How many motels does she plan to purchase? Would hostels not be cheaper 🙂 ?

            how many houses could have been build with the money she paid for the motel?

            how many more houses could have been build with the money spend for renovations – to make it fit for purpose?

            will the people evicted be the first to be ’emergency housed’? if so at how much per week? and for how many weeks.

            oh my gosh, the questions are without numbers.

        • Red 4.1.1.3

          i thought you where leaving the country Sabine for Utopia, don’t let us hold you back sweetie

          [Cant you do better than this? Address the argument or forgo your posting privilege. Up to you – MS]

      • @RED

        And btw ‘ Sweetie’ ,… everything looks good until we see the other side of the coin… in this case a sell off by a proprietor who wishes to realize his cash investment. Don’t go building a whole moralistic narrative into something that isn’t there.

        Please.

        The fanatical neo liberal far right mantra is looking very threadbare these days. And – , as one who pompously advocates this sort of adventure… you sound like the sort that can put a family or two up – why aren’t you ?

        Or are you admitting to your very own case of severe and debilitating nimbyism?

        Oh yes… we’ve had 32 years to realize the fanatical far right when we see it. We are all well aware of that cancerous disease when we see it.

  5. righty right 5

    41000 thousand homeless we need refugee sized camps 10 units isnt going to cut it paula needs to do alot better than this

    • Leftie 5.1

      “refugee sized camps”??? Bloody hell…

      You’re kidding right, Righty Right? Just bloody build houses, stop selling and demolishing thousands of state homes, put the brakes on foreign speculators and turn the tap down on immigration until we have the infrastructure in place to cope with new arrivals.

      Paula Bennett, let alone the Nats DON’T WANT TO DO ANYTHING because it’s propping up and masking a weak and fragile economy, that is teetering on collapse.

    • fisiani 5.2

      1500 homeless. and that number lowering every week

  6. Keith 6

    Nationals unofficial policy of appearing to do something rather than actually doing something is utterly hopeless. This will clearky displace people in need in that motel so clever Paula can lie and say “Look at me, I’m doing something”

    Look at all those boarded up state houses, those vacant sites where once they stood now flogged off to private developers, thanks to National! They have single handedly created this mess.

    Nigel Latta describes Bennett as hard working but for fucks sake, hard work at pulling the wool over the publics eyes, constantly, to take their damaging official policies off the front pages is hard work we can definitely do without.

  7. Brian 7

    So it’s official then?…. Paula Bennett IS an idiot. Glad that’s been cleared up once and for all.

  8. Michelle 8

    What happened to the market providing that’s what the gnats have argued the market will provide through competition and they continue to use this argument when it suits. Now pull the benefit is using our taxes to purchase a motel for a crisis they still haven’t called a crisis

  9. Typical Paula Bennet move. Take PR steps that only waste money and/or make the problem worse. It’s pretty emblematic of the Government’s approach in general, but she’s the one who really specialises in making it blatantly obvious.

  10. Takere 10

    So the government is getting into the Hotel/Motel business! Instead of building houses, a long term solution. They’ve decided to pad the Crown Accounts with what will be over valued Assets on the register as an SOe? Growing the GDP at the expense of the taxpayers and especially people in desperate need! ….. How many times can you commit a finite fund of $41m??

    20 September, 2016
    Government secures more emergency housing

    A target of around 3000 emergency housing places funded per year has been exceeded and Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett is seeking even more places to help house vulnerable New Zealanders.

    The second round of funding for a share of $33 million announced in Budget 2016, directly targeted at emergency housing, has so far resulted in 51 proposals from 30 providers across the country providing 3032 new and existing emergency places per year.

    11 September, 2016
    Social Housing Reform Programme on track

    The Government’s Social Housing Reform Programme is on track with more social housing available in Auckland and more on the way, says Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett.

    There are currently 3185 community housing places funded from Income Related Rent subsidies throughout New Zealand and an increase in Housing New Zealand houses in Auckland, with another 3000 to be delivered over the next three years.

    “We have also changed the rules so that people needing emergency accommodation can access a grant if they have to stay in motels. This was part of my Budget announcement of $41.1 million which is also helping current providers remain viable. We have signed contracts for almost all of the 800 emergency places throughout New Zealand at any one time, and I have a work programme under way to source more,” Mrs Bennett says.

    6 September, 2016
    $24.4m more for Auckland social housing
    The Government is giving an extra $24.4 million to community housing providers to increase the supply of social housing in Auckland.

    29 July, 2016
    Supporting Better Housing Outcomes
    The Government is investing $9 million over two years in the next steps of its programme to support the most vulnerable New Zealanders’ housing needs, Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett says.

    26 May, 2016
    $258m to boost social housing
    Budget 2016 invests $258 million to ensure people most in need of social housing have access to this essential service, Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett says.

  11. fisiani 11

    Listen to Twyford on Parliament TV getting egg plastered all over face trying to make the same ludicrous claims about tossing people out.
    making outrageous claims does not make them true.

    • srylands 11.1

      The Economist ran a feature last week the ‘Post Truth World’. Twyford typifies what The Economist is saying. Just lie. Blame someone. Then keep lying. Denounce critics as elitist no it alls.

      Fortunately the public sees through lies. It is looking for honesty in its leaders.

      • Leftie 11.1.1

        “Just lie. Blame someone. Then keep lying. Denounce critics” is exactly John key’s MO Srylands.
        John key is a known habitual/compulsive liar, no one could ever call him honest with a straight face.

      • Pasupial 11.1.2

        Quoth Epimenides the Cretan: “All Cretans are liars.”

        Or more recently:

        It has now spiralled into a debate about how to better appeal to “post-truth” citizens, as though they are baffling and lack reason… are the public really sick of experts? Given the provenance of that claim, shouldn’t somebody with sense have checked it before we all set to trying to work out how to handle it?

        https://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2016/sep/19/the-idea-post-truth-society-elitist-obnoxious

  12. Scott 12

    There is a fair point made here. Unless we increase the amount of housing stock this is all about rearranging the deck chairs.

    That is what the government is trying to do, increase the housing stock. You may agree with how they are going about that, or you might not, but there is nothing wrong with ensuring the deck chairs are best arranged while they’re at it.

    Put it another way. What would you rather she do?

    • Leftie 12.1

      The flaming obvious Scott. Just bloody build houses, stop selling and demolishing thousands of state homes, put the brakes on foreign speculators and turn the tap down on immigration until we have the infrastructure in place to cope with new arrivals.

      • srylands 12.1.1

        It is not the role of government to build houses.

        • McFlock 12.1.1.1

          oh yes it is.

          • srylands 12.1.1.1.1

            Seriously who wants to live in a government owned house if they have a choice?

            • Sabine 12.1.1.1.1.1

              if it came with secure tenancy, rent controlled, and a person who answers my phone call when something needs fixing? I would. Thanks muchly.

            • Anne 12.1.1.1.1.2

              If they have a choice. Thousands upon thousands of NZers don’t have that choice.

              In the 40s, 50s and 60s the majority of NZ children grew up in state owned houses. They were warm, dry, well fed, well educated and happy. So were their parents. Two of those children became prime ministers.

              • Sabine

                so you are saying that the majority of Adults in NZ lived very happily in a State House bringing up their children? 🙂

                And the Prime Minister was one of them. Oh my, the poor man, that humility having to admit he came from a Family poor enough to live of the States largess. I still believe the reason he is such a mean and petty bugger is the fact that the white farmers boys (like Mr. English) bullied him without mercy.
                Sadly his payback is hitting those that had nothing to do, as for the farmer boys? He is still trying to please them, and at the end of the day, they will still only see him as the poor bugger who grew up in a State House living of the States largess.

                • Leftie

                  Well said Sabine and Anne!

                • Anne

                  So you are saying that the majority of Adults in NZ lived very happily in a State House bringing up their children?

                  Not only that, but most of them were so grateful to have a stable and secure home after years of war, pestilence, and a world-wide depression that they tended those homes with loving care. They laid lawns and kept them trim. They planted vegetable gardens, flower beds, trees and bushes. There are many photos around that will attest to the care and attention most received. And then later on they had the option of buying them – using a government social security loan system – so that they could live out their days in them. As houses were purchased by the tenants, the govt. replaced them by building more state houses.

                • srylands

                  Your trip down nostalgia road ignores that fact that the profile of those in State houses has changed beyond recognition since the 1950s. Only 16% of State housing clients are couples with children. Most of them are single parents.

                  http://www.hnzc.co.nz/assets/Uploads/briefing-for-the-incoming-minister-2015.pdf

                  There is a need for State housing. But the aim should be to reduce its need – ideally to zero. And while it is needed it should be provided efficiently. That means using markets.

                  “And the Prime Minister was one of them. ”

                  Yes and his mother was not on welfare. She worked. So did John Key. After school and uni in a stables. It was a different world.

            • McFlock 12.1.1.1.1.3

              if the choice is between that and a car, house wins.
              Remember, you’re fast becoming the minority. Not everyone can afford to just buy a house, idiot.

        • Naki man 12.1.1.2

          No it isnt, Gullible people like Leftie think Twyford can pull builders and sections out of his arsehole and magic up houses.

          • Leftie 12.1.1.2.1

            No one is saying that Naki man, except idiots like yourself and yes it is the role of government to build houses. Aren’t you aware of this country’s history?

            • srylands 12.1.1.2.1.1

              It is the role of markets. There will always be a need for social housing. Hopefully in coming decades that will diminish. In the interim the Government can purchase social housing. That is the future. If National wins another two terms that agenda should be complete by 2023. It will then be virtually impossible to reverse. Also it will begin to show evidence of success.

              At the end of the day nobody wants to live in a state house. But if they are needed they should be both effective and efficient. Using markets is the way to do that. There is no alternative.

              • Leftie

                What a load of claptrap.

              • Sabine

                no mate, you don’t want to live in a state house.
                And this current National Party led Government, that useless woman Paula Bennett and all the other stooges have had 8.5 years to prove that the market does not provide.

                that my dear is the reason why Ms. Bennett is buying a Motel. Hmm, maybe she is getting the training necessary for her next life, Motel Mistress of the Miserables

            • Scott 12.1.1.2.1.2

              In the past our government thought it their responsibility to dictate which gender you can marry. Just because something happened here in the past doesn’t make it right.

              In any event, they are building houses (just perhaps not as fast as you’d like I suspect).

              • Leftie

                Since you are all for human rights Scott, housing is also a human right, but you are implying that just because previous governments built homes for its citizens in the past, it is wrong for a government to do it now. Seriously Scott, ever thought of engaging your brain?

                How many houses has National actually built and how many houses has National sold off, demolished and are allowing to stay empty with a view to sell, while thousands of Kiwis, (many who are working), are homeless?

                • Scott

                  No, I’m saying what I said. The assumption that because we built a large number of state houses in the past doesn’t automatically mean that is the right solutions now.

                  It is a part of the solution, I agree that much.

                  Labour and the Greens seem to think they have a magic wand to wave. If they win the next election I think we’ll discover they don’t.

          • Sabine 12.1.1.2.2

            oh we have sections galore, They are called special housing areas and under this lovley dovey do nothing but fling shite about National Party led Government they are not being build on.

            oh and we could train some new builders, we could import some new builders, after all we can import baristas :), and then wow, magic, houses up!

          • Anne 12.1.1.2.3

            … people like Leftie think Twyford can pull builders and sections out of his arsehole and magic up houses.

            Well they magicked them up in the 30s,40s,50s 60s and 70s so why can’t they do it again?

            • Chris 12.1.1.2.3.1

              “Well they magicked them up in the 30s,40s,50s 60s and 70s so why can’t they do it again?”

              For the same reason they didn’t magic them up in the 80s and 00s. They don’t want to.

              • Leftie

                But Chris, Labour did in the 80s and 00s, so they did and still want to. All Labour governments since the 30’s built homes for Kiwis.

              • Anne

                @Chris
                Are you trying to say the policies Andrew Little and Phil Twyford have been banging on about for yonks are just a figment of the imagination? I guess in your mind they are.

                Where there’s a will there is ALWAYS a way. And Labour has ALWAYS had the way.

                I stopped at the 70s because it was the start of the neo liberal/market forces style of government. After 14 years of market destruction… the Clark/Cullen govt. had to move cautiously and wait for the treasury chests to build up into surplus again. Even so, they managed to continue to build state houses at a greater rate than this govt’s pathetically weak responses.

                • Chris

                  “Are you trying to say the policies Andrew Little and Phil Twyford have been banging on about for yonks are just a figment of the imagination? I guess in your mind they are.”

                  Ooh! A bit of so from queen anne! Thought that might rattle your cage.

                  Well, queenie, for starters, we don’t know what Little and Twyford will do but if recent history is anything to go by they’ll flip-flop on what they’re promising. That trend started when they reneged on their stance about reversing the benefit cuts of 1991. Of course I’d love to be wrong but there’s just been no evidence yet that they do what they say they’re going to do. I’ll be the first one to congratulate Labour if they do what they’re promising regarding housing for the poorest and the homeless.

                  What I was mainly referring to was how Clark’s mob didn’t continue building more houses like Labour did in the “30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s”. They set rents at 25% of net income with a cap on the subsidy which turfed people out after a period paying of market rent. They also focused more on trying to tidy up some of the existing stock that the nats ran down.

                  What they also did was axe the special benefit, which was a form of assistance that had the effect of being a housing subsidy for the poorest who, for what ever reason, were renting in the private market.

                  So no, I don’t buy your Labour-can-do-no-wrong historical analysis. Helen Clark and her government did a grave disservice to the poorest NZers. I’m not saying that’s going to continue but we just don’t know. As I say, I want to be wrong, but we’re just going to have to wait and see because history’s not on our side.

        • Leftie 12.1.1.3

          Srylands, as McFlock says, oh yes it is.

        • Sabine 12.1.1.4

          so its the governments role to buy motels to ‘increase housing’?

          • Leftie 12.1.1.4.1

            Touche’

          • Chris 12.1.1.4.2

            Maybe Bennett’s plan is to charge $1700 or $1800 a week from people who need emergency housing, Work and Income pays up front to the motels, then the debt gets claimed back from peoples’ benefits? Easy peasy.

      • Scott 12.1.2

        That takes time, even with a magic wand to summons builders and land and resource consent and building consent. Something needs to happen in the interim.

        • Sabine 12.1.2.1

          that is adressing the problem? a Motel that can house what 40 – 60 people to address a homeless population of 40.000.

          oh my gosh that is beyond pathetic.

          Gosh, someone give that women and award. She earned it.

          • Scott 12.1.2.1.1

            So what is your solution and how will it be achieved?

            I actually get the impression this government is open to good ideas for both the short term and in terms if addressing the underlying problem. But all the left can put up is magic wand waving and criticism. Both are easy, neither are helpful to those in need.

            • dv 12.1.2.1.1.1

              The Nats have 8 years to plan after crisis announced by Key in 2007

            • Anne 12.1.2.1.1.2

              Can’t help noticing all these anti-Labour housing policy commenters continue to ignore the reality that is:

              LABOUR HAS A MAGIC WAND WHAT IT HAS USED IN THE PAST AND BUILT LOTS AND LOTS OF STATE HOMES.

              Simple to read. Simple to understand. Do you get the picture? They have form. They know how to do it. They have the butchers, the bakers and the candlestick makers waiting… ready to be organised and go. (OK. That last sentence may be a little too metaphorical for you to understand).

              • Scott

                Not so much metaphorical as metaphysical.

                I don’t think the builders are there waiting with idle hands. But, if Labour / Greens win in 2017 I guess we’ll find out.

                The halcyon days you look back upon with rose tinted glasses were times when we did not have as much red tape (mostly we need it, so sorry for the pejorative term) around qualifications etc. It is no longer about giving some post war labour a hammer, some asbestos-cement sheets, and a supervisor.

                I certainly agree that the primary answer to the underlying shortage of homes is it build more. I don’t know that many would disagree with that.

                • dv

                  So you agree that Nats have been sitting on there hands re housing for 8 years then Scott.

                  • Scott

                    In part, yes.

                    I think successive governments since the early 90s (including the current one) have let the Auckland Council (including the ARC predecessor) and others limit urban expansion and put road-blocks in the way of intensification. In retrospect, that was plainly wrong even if well-intentioned. Central Government should have intervened at some point before now. I’m pleased it is now doing so, but the horse has bolted a bit so the fix will be slow.

                    Likewise, I think successive government have let the state housing stock get run down, and become unsuitable for current needs. They should have been bowling over or selling most of them, and replacing them with more intensive and in many cases smaller homes so that now we would have more of them, better located, and better suited to their purpose.

                    To a degree the two overlap, in that the first feeds into why the second didn’t happen as it should have. But there were other factors as well, including ideologies on both sides of the house.

                    But I still think Anne’s expectations are delusional.

                    • dv

                      But I still think Anne’s expectations are delusional.

                      NOT if there is serious political will.

                    • Anne

                      I still think Anne’s expectations are delusional.

                      So, you think its wrong for Labour to commit to building 100,000 state and affordable houses over a ten year period? Ten years is the goal but, in truth, it might take a little longer than that I grant you. As the houses are completed the homeless numbers will start dropping – slowly initially but gathering in momentum as the houses become available. As far as the immediate situation is concerned… that’s National’s call. They are responsible for the mess so they can clean it up!

                    • Scott []

                      I just think they are being dishonest, and have chosen such a long timeframe to ensure they are never held to account and that the number sounds impressively large.

                      Why don’t they tell us how many they will build in the first two and a half years. At least then they could be called to account on their pipe dreams.

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