Property rights should not trump human welfare

Written By: - Date published: 10:18 am, July 2nd, 2012 - 8 comments
Categories: class war, housing - Tags: ,

From I/S at No Right Turn:


Property rights should not trump human welfare

This week, Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples suggested that Christchurch’s growing number of homeless squat in abandoned red-zone properties rather than sleeping in their cars. The response with swift, with an outraged Gerry Brownlee saying that Sharples’ suggestion was “not appropriate” and “completely out of order”. Bullshit.

Despite the government’s denials, there is a growing housing crisis in Christchurch. The earthquake has damaged homes, meaning that there are not enough to go around, and this shortage has been exacerbated by price-gouging landlords eager to make a quick buck off other people’s suffering. Meanwhile, hundreds of homes lie empty in the red zone.

Contrary to Brownlee’s fearmongering, these homes are not unsafe. They have been condemned as part of a policy of managed retreat, because the land cannot be quickly remediated and public services cheaply restored – not because they are structurally unsound. And while they are cold, unheated, and lack power and sewage, they’re still enormously better than a tent or a car.

Squatting in these abandoned homes does no-one any harm, while delivering significant benefits to the homeless. Demanding that those in need eschew this, and instead continue to suffer, is privileging property rights over basic human welfare. And that is simply obscene.

8 comments on “Property rights should not trump human welfare”

  1. Kevin 1

    Both HousingNZ and Christchurch City Council were quick to close and vacate properties under their care post the earthquake citing safety reasons, even though some of the properties were not affected with quake damage or were in the red zone.
    That action contributed to the housing crisis and both organisations can be accused of taking advantage of the quake to exit Social Housing in Christchurch.
    Reports in the media and from friends on the ground is that the housing issue is in crisis and those affected have to do what it takes to survive even if that involves squatting in damaged homes because there are no options and the rental market is being gouged big time by unscrupulous owners.

  2. weka 2

    Squatting in this situation seems quite reasonable to me. Have the people who own those houses been paid out, or had an agreement to pay out insurance?

  3. bad12 3

    Sharples a minister of Maori without an ounce of vision, sure if people cannot afford private rack-rentals and both the City and the state have abdicated in their duty over the provision of affordable housing then people should simply squat in the best of the housing available,

    However,

    that in no way excuses Sharples and His Maori Party supporting the National Government carte blanche for ‘gains to Maori’ which amount to NOTHING,

    Sharples and the Maori Party should be demanding of National the immediate addressing of the provision of affordable state housing, a number of built off-site houses were shifted into one of the many Chrischurch parks after the earthquake events,

    Definitely not ‘luxury living’ but tidy, livable, weather tight homes built for $100,000 dollars a piece, the homeless of Christchurch cannot be left to suffer ‘market savagery’ through no fault of their own and such low cost State Housing should be the blue-print to be rolled out in other areas of need…

  4. Rusty Shackleford 4

    This is an easy one. If the owners of the homes don’t mind people living in their homes then there is no issue.

    • RedLogix 4.1

      So what do you think this will mean in reality Rusty?

      • Rusty Shackleford 4.1.1

        I’m sure you know the answer but aren’t going to tell me (rolls eyes).

        • RedLogix 4.1.1.1

          I should have known that asking you a question about the real world was not going to work…

  5. Populuxe1 5

    It’s a bit cavalier to suggest the red zone – there is, after all, a reason why it’s the red zone – ie, it’s fucked, unpredictable and possibly dangerous.
    http://fintel.co.nz/earthquake/

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