Selling state houses to Australia

Written By: - Date published: 10:29 am, June 28th, 2015 - 20 comments
Categories: bill english, housing, national, Privatisation - Tags: , , ,

There is a desperate need for state housing in NZ. Headlines from the last year include:
State Housing waiting lists go through the roof
More living in cars as rents go through roof
Families in urgent need of state housing waiting twice as long – Labour

National claims that state houses are “in the wrong place or were the wrong size”. Rubbish:

Govt’s state housing claims wrong – Little

Labour is challenging the Government’s claim that a third of state houses are either the wrong size or in the wrong place.

Housing spokesman Phil Twyford says Housing NZ’s annual report, released today, contradicts that.
“The annual report states 96 percent of state houses are in the right places to meet demand, and 89 percent have the right number of bedrooms,” he said.

“Ministers have been making up numbers to justify their plan to sell of thousands of state houses.”

National are selling state houses (1) to try and improve their disastrous balance sheet (the tax cut bribe of 2008 has had them on the back foot ever since), (2) because they want out of the responsibility for taking care of the poor, and (3) because selling stuff that other people built is what they do.

The sell off is going every bit as well as Nick Smith’s roundup of Auckland housing land. The Salvation Army dropped out, other charities would not participate unless the houses were given to them for free. The Nats are apparently so desperate to find buyers that:

State houses may be sold to Australians

Appearing on TV3’s The Nation this morning, Finance Minister Bill English said it was possible state houses could be sold to an Australian company.

A Gold Coast non-profit charity, Horizon Housing, had visited New Zealand this week to look at the houses. It was interested in possibly buying at least 400 state houses.

How is an Australian company motivated to improve housing outcomes for NZ’s poor? How does selling state houses to an Australian company address the housing crisis in this country? Labour’s Phil Twyford:

“Bill English should face reality and admit his state house sell off policy has collapsed. The Salvation Army didn’t want a bar of it. Iwi leaders said they’d only take them if they got them for free.

“Now Bill English is so desperate to keep his failed policy afloat that he’ll even flick the houses off to the Aussies,” he said.

English needs to explain why the government can’t find NZ buyers for their “social housing” plans. The Nats to explain how selling state houses helps a single family in need.

20 comments on “Selling state houses to Australia”

  1. dukeofurl 1

    Considering all the selling off of state houses wasnt mentioned at all during the election campaign.
    The day after the election English did mention it ‘ as you do’ as a cunning ploy to try to put it in pre election agenda.


  2. johnm 2

    Read on the that $1000,000,000 of maintenance due on these houses hasn’t and probably won’t be done. (If this info is incorrect or out of date plse correct 🙂 ) Anyway that’s why the charities don’t want them plus some of the tenants being a problem.

    Anyhow I echo that this is a disgusting action by the Government. They really are privatisation brainwashed imbeciles who really don’t get it that the market madness destroys cohesive decent societies. Every man for his profit madness self and the losers can live on the street, in sheds and cars they are mere economic failed units.

    ” Furthermore, on page 36 of the 2013/14 Annual Report, Repairs and Maintenance is given as $220 million for the period.This is $1 billion less than the $1.2 billion quoted by Bill English to TVNZ’s Corin Dann on 24 March, this year. ”

    ” It also deflects attention from the fact that National has used Housing NZ as a cash cow by demanding dividends, in a futile attempt by Bill English to balance the government books and post a surplus (which he has also failed at spectacularly), as this ‘Dominion Post‘ editorial highlighted; – ”

    Well we’ve had Dirty Politics, How about this Dirty Trick?From a money trader’s point of view makes perfect sense though.If you asked K
    ey What are a New Zealand citizen’s rights he’d answer Duhh??

    • dukeofurl 2.1

      Thats misleading that is “Repairs maintenance AND new stock”

      Their summary says this:

      “continuing to invest in new stock and upgrades on the existing portfolio for a total spend (excluding divestments) of $278 million

      It would interesting to see the maintenance spend on wholly owned properties compared to those that have a long term lease.

  3. Rodel 3

    The possibility of New Zealand state houses being sold to an Australian company (not for profit-yeah right!- maybe not now but in a generation’s time? is an issue which I expect will be strongly criticized by every news editorial in the country. ..again yeah right!
    Like every “minor” sell off of assets paid for by us, there will be wishy washy press comments, it will soon cease to be news and Kiwis won’t remember.

    The new generation will never know that in the past, politicians had actual responsibilities to the people who voted them in..and still pay their large salaries, generous welfare pensions and everlasting travel expenses..

  4. Steve Withers 4

    This is just one more way National is putting Kiwis out of work.

    People employed by Housing NZ will be made redundant and this crew will take over.

    • G C Cameron 4.1

      Given the reported STATE of many State Houses – potential redundancies at Housing NZ might find former employees enduring the conditions they so long ignored.

      • Naturesong 4.1.1

        ” …might find former employees enduring the conditions they didnt have the funding to fix because the $90M dividend to the govt. came first.”

  5. Mike the Savage One 5

    The revelations by TV3’s The Nation mean nothing less than, that the government has no faith in New Zealand “providers” being up to the task, after the Salvation Army and others turned down potential involvement in large scale community housing projects, buying stock from Housing NZ.

    It is of course all about the government wanting to get rid of responsibilities and perceived liabilities, nothing else, same as the outsourcing of social services that MSD has now contracted out to private providers (e.g. employment services for mentally ill, sole parents and youth).

    Given their “market driven” approach, it does not really matter, whether a provider comes from New Zealand, the UK, Australia or Mongolia, as long as they are prepared to sign up to the large scale experiments that they wish to conduct, bringing the government the benefit of getting rid of said liabilities.

    I am not the least surprised about the plans to make a deal with Horizon, and as things are, they are likely to go ahead with this large sale of at least 400 to 500 state homes to the Aussies.

    The alternative is to have the state (or SOEs) redevelop some Housing NZ stock, which requires significant investment, which the government we have is reluctant to make, as they have strictly followed the to be expected agenda of privatisation, of outsourcing, of a cost cutting in the public sector (“better public service”), and in return given carrots like tax cuts to the voters they want to keep supporting them.

    So to turn away from this, it will be necessary to convince enough voters that another approach is needed, that may require higher taxes on higher income earners, more lending of funds, and/or long term government bonds to cover extra expenditure, as a long term investment kind of approach.

    In short, a totally different economic and fiscal approach is needed, but will Labour be ready for this? Kiwi Build was one policy, admittedly with some flaws, but what have they in offer now? That is where urgent action is needed, to deliver a convincing alternative, that will win votes, not necessarily the comfortable middle class, that have their homes and investments, but the near to a million that have not bothered voting for too long.

    Challenge is, how do you reach them, how do you interest and convince them, to vote for you, and to have trust in an alternative government offering them what they may wish for?

  6. G C Cameron 6

    Houses are built to last 50 years – NZ housing stock is aging and simply not being replaced/upgraded at pace.

    Rents are through the roof YET inflation is touted as low. Household incomes are said to be on the rise, however households are BIGGER than ever because individuals and couples often can’t afford to rent or a mortgage.

    Down the track we may see more young-adults without basic life skills and adults still living with their aging parents.

    • dukeofurl 6.1

      HNZ Annual report 2013-2014

      “..• maintaining high levels of cash, with closing cash and investments of $618 million”

    • linda 6.2

      nats will never take responsibility for there decision they will deny ,deceive ,divert ,deflect , then the bastard will abandon ship faster than a bilge rat (wankers the lot of them )

  7. Stuart Munro 7

    The combination of desperation and stupidity explains most of Bill’s actions. We should upgrade our finance ministry by sacking him and hiring a moron.

    • Weepus beard 7.1

      It’s unbelievable he’s been given such an easy ride when clearly most of his decisions are rushed and poorly planned.

      I guess he’s looked after the National voter though despite leaving the rest of the population struggling.

      • Naturesong 7.1.1

        They don’t really care about the National voter. They look after the National funder.
        Get the money and structural support first.

        PR campaigns and polling takes care of the National voter.

  8. Keith 8

    National to explain why they selling more taxpayer assets without a mandate!

    The liars told the voters last year asset sales were finished because there was nothing left worth selling.

  9. Rodel 9

    Key desperately trying to fudge the issue this morning on RNZ with Guyon Espiner. blathering on about Greenpeace being in a similar situation to Australian company Horizon Housing.
    Espiner tried to point out the illogic but Key continued to fudge.WTF?

  10. Stuart Munro 10

    “English needs to explain why the government can’t find NZ buyers for their “social housing” plans. ”

    English needs to explain why he is even trying to find buyers – have you blown all the country’s money Bill, you useless tosser?

    • Karen 10.1

      Providing social housing is an obligation of good government. No state houses should be sold.

      All are repairable, and if some are too small then additional bedrooms should be added to existing stock. All should be insulated, and adapted so that they are easier to be kept dry and warm.

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