An editorial in The Press almost nails the failed state housing sell-off:
Editorial: state house sales a failed scheme
The Government’s sell-off of state housing has not exactly been a runaway success so far. A plan to “diversify” community housing ownership by ensuring at least one-fifth are not Goverment-owned has been quietly dropped and schemes to find local buyers failed spectacularly in both Invercargill and Horowhenua.
Quite apart from the ugly symbolism of a government offloading state houses in the midst of a housing crisis, it appears that local charitable providers could not be convinced that taking on the properties made either ideological or economic sense, although the Government said in August it had found a buyer for 1124 state houses in Tauranga.
Still, the Government is pressing on with its unpopular and mostly unsuccessful policy. Housing New Zealand Minister Bill English announced on Thursday that the next target of its Social Housing Reform Programme (SHRP) would be Christchurch where between 2000 and 2500 HNZ properties would be “transferred”, assuming the Government can find the right buyer.
English says that a private provider would doing a better job of fixing up these homes than the state and that the Government is just “not that good at property development”.
Really? It is hard not to feel dismayed by the dreary lack of ambition revealed by that and other statements from English and to wonder whether the Government is simply washing its hands of one of its most important and central roles.
It’s more than a “dreary lack of ambition”, it’s a deliberate plan to underfund / rundown the stock to “justify” selling off, so that the Nats can indeed “wash their hands” of their obligations.