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The State Housing review

Written By: - Date published: 10:35 am, October 26th, 2010 - 18 comments
Categories: housing - Tags: ,

Frankly, it’s not surprising that the Housing Shareholders Advisory Group came to the conclusions it did. Despite its name, the group includes no state house tenants. It was a group packed with private social housing providers, hand-picked to deliver the conclusion that these groups should be given control of state houses.

I think the other major proposal, that HNZ should try to maximise the help it gives by getting the people in the most need into homes that are the right size for them, is fair enough. Reviewing the tenancies every 3, 5, or 10 years doesn’t seem like a big problem to me. But that’s the misdirection. The big proposal here is privatisation.

Phil Heatley is talking about giving houses to private not-for-profit organisations. What’s going to happen to the tenants?

  • Will their tenancies still be governed by the same rules as HNZ tenants, or will the private owners to be able to set their own criteria?
  • What other influence will groups like the Christian Salvation Army be able to exercise over their new tenants?
  • Will income-related rents be affected? In the Q+A interview, Heatley suggested that rents in state houses transferred to private organisations could be raised from 25% of income to 30%.
  • What value would the tenants get from private ownership?

It’s nice that the Salvation Army wants to get more into social housing but I see nothing to suggest that we should hand them millions of dollars worth of public assets and the homes of poor families. If National goes ahead with this, it will undoubtedly be a stealth move to cut the cost of helping the most vulnerable New Zealand families get housing.

PS.What’s up with Farrar referring to the Housing Shareholders’ Advisory Group as SHAG? Freud would chuckle.

18 comments on “The State Housing review”

  1. rich 1

    The subsidies to state house tenants are tiny compared to the cash pumped into the Ponzi scheme of house and land price inflation. The billion dollars of SCF bailout, most of which has gone to the owners and developers of overpriced land, is just a small part of it.

  2. Hilary 2

    Hints of Mission Australia, and the privatisation of welfare that happened under Howard. And why couldn’t they actually include some real state house tenants in their advisory group, who know from lived experience what security of housing means when you are poor and vulnerable?

  3. This will put the religious righteous bigots in charge of state housing.
    Only the “deserving good ” will be given a state house. Its a return to so called Victorian standards ,so loved by the political Right. A return to the class system with all its unpleasantness. Another attack on working people and the under -priviledged . Its one of the reasons that political Left must win the next election.

    • A Nonny Moose 3.1

      When I heard “not for profit” on the news, I immediately thought “charity” and my least favourite charitable charity The Salvation Army and their homophobic agenda. Would they stop gay singles or couples from renting? Would they stop gay families with children renting? Would a condition of renting include mandatory service attendance and/or visits to “enlighten” teh gais on their sinning wais?

      • Vicky32 3.1.1

        ‘. Would they stop gay singles or couples from renting? Would they stop gay families with children renting? Would a condition of renting include mandatory service attendance and/or visits to “enlighten” teh gais on their sinning wais?”
        Don’t be silly. If you actually knew anything about the SA, you would not say such absurdities. Gay rights are not all there is to life! 🙁
        Deb

    • Vicky32 3.2

      You’re wrong about that PP… at least as far as the Salvation Army goes (they are not “right” or “bigots” and your comment seems to me to be kneejerk anti-clericalism. That being said, I am against the privatisation of HNZ…
      Deb

  4. same.
    would the Christian Soldiers treat so called ‘devil worshippers’ like jews, muslims, hindus and buddhists the same as christians?
    would they be hostile to athiest or satanist tenants, and if so, is religious affiliation now a criterion for state assistance?
    would they be penalised for exploiting their landlord status to proselytize?

  5. ghostwhowalksnz 5

    Im allready aware of faith based social assistance groups getting the go ahead for government funded housing .
    There is also the Kiwi version of ‘mega churches’ in on this.
    For the people they help, its likely that wedlock is in ,and unwed mothers or abortion is out.
    Destiny Housing here we come!

    Of course the catch is the government only gives them say 80% of the cost of a new house and land.
    Remember the government funded retirement villages, when they got sold to private companies the Masons and Presbyterian Support walked away with multi millions for only a small outlay. Hows that for leverage

  6. How active, if at all, is Habitat for Humanity in NZ? If they are, did they get any say in this?

    Their model, which eventually gets people into ownership, not renting, is a superior one anyway. And it allows the poorest of the poor to still contribute something (labour, sometimes expertise) to their home, and that of others, reinforcing a real sense of community.

    If the current paradigm is up for discussion, surely that’s the model that ought to be promoted?

  7. Vicky32 7

    Habitat for Humanity is active is New Zealand – a few years back, a couple of people from H for H came to speak at our church. Yes, guys above *our church*. You’re all confused I think, seeing NZ churches as being like American ones – the churches I am in, the Open Brethren and the Anglican, would in neither case be interested in pulling any of the stunts you say you fear in your Christian-bashing posts (not you Rex! 🙂 )
    The Anglicans are leftist, and the OBs would have no interest in getting involved in housing. The SA already are involved in social services, and they do not discriminate against anyone, which is more than I can say for you guys! Shame on you.
    Deb

    • Lindsey 7.1

      Vicky,
      You may not remember 1985 when the Salvation Army decided that some people were less worthy of basic civil and human rights than other people. However, some of us still remember the hate filled rhetoric and the vicious campaign that was waged against the GLBT community. We will never trust the Salvation Army again and are very worried at the thought of them having any more power over anybody’s lives.

      • I do remember that and I was disgusted Lindsey. They seem, however, to have gained a little enlightenment in the intervening 25 years, as one would hope:

        A disposition towards homosexuality is not in itself blameworthy nor is the disposition seen as rectifiable at will. The Army is sensitive to the complex social, emotional and spiritual needs of all people including those with homosexual inclinations. We oppose vilification of, or discrimination against, anyone on the grounds of sexual orientation. No person is excluded from membership, fellowship or service in the Army solely on the basis of sexual disposition.

        Homosexual practice however, is, in the light of Scripture, clearly unacceptable.

        Still some way to go… they seem to have arrived at a variation of “don’t ask, don’t tell”, at least at head office level. However some of the work I do brings me into contact with the Salvos (more often though it’s the Uniting Church) and most of the “troops” on the ground seem to have a more realistic attitude – namely that if someone is living a life of crime, homeless, abusing drugs, is physically and/or mentally ill and happens to also be homosexual, then there’s far more pressing issues in their lives to deal with than who they’re having sex with.

        Unless someone is actively hostile to your beliefs (and sometimes, even if they are but are at least intelligent enough to have reasons for their hostility they’re willing to debate) then I find engagement is almost always preferable to ostracism.

        • Vicky32 7.1.1.1

          I have to say I am wholly with the SA on that – “don’t ask don’t tell” seems eminently sensible to me!
          That being said, the SA you describe Lindsey, is not the Army I know..
          I don’t like the idea of Public Housing going to private concerns whoever they are. Frankly, I would fear a liberatarian housing charity far more than a religious one, they’re far more likely to do the “deserving poor” thing!
          Deb

  8. Vicky32 8

    I just now heard Phil Heatley on 3 News whining about State house tenants “rorting” the system, and receiving huge taxpayer subsidies… (Heatley has a truly vile voice, as does Fatty Garner, who said that he knew Heatley was giving “extreme examples” but he had to, in order to make his point against Labour… (Something Garner obviously deeply approves…)
    Heatley didn’t AFAIK, name these ‘rorters’ but TV 3 showed the houses where they live on screen!
    Who knows why one person lives in a 4 bedroom house and pays $47.00 a week? I pay $47.00 a week, it’s the rent for a person on UB. It’s likely this person has had family move out and they haven’t been able to get a transfer, so not *their* fault! But are Bob and Jan Average going to realise that?
    Deb

    • Carol 8.1

      Labour’s answered in the House that tenants need to have somewhere else to go live if they lose their state house – ire issues about not being enough affordable housing etc.. I think they had some other apt responses. But of course Garner did what Heatley was hoping and latched on to the senstationalist eg.

  9. millsy 9

    This is nothing but a big election bribe for private landlords. With the World Cup coming up next year, a shortage of rental housing, AND a whole lot of low income tenants been pushed into the private market, property owners will have the oppurtunity to hike their rents up to unimaginable levels.

    Remember, getting a house to rent is now like getting a job, you have to attend an interview and all sorts.

    Captcha: disadvantage – what the most vulnerable people are going to end up with.

    • Deborah Kean 9.1

      “, getting a house to rent is now like getting a job, you have to attend an interview and all sorts.”
      You do? Thank God I am not having to go through that! (Although my son and daughter in law are, no wonder they’re so agitated..)
      Deb

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