web analytics

The state of state houses

Written By: - Date published: 8:03 am, July 12th, 2015 - 17 comments
Categories: class war, housing - Tags: , ,

Turns out are state houses are in a shocking state of disrepair. The Nation’s Nicola Kean:

Are warrants unwarranted for state houses?

In February last year, Housing Minister Nick Smith launched a trial Warrant of Fitness scheme for state houses. Inspectors would take a look at 500 Housing New Zealand properties to see, essentially, if they were fit for people to live in. …

48 percent of the houses in the trial were non-compliant and found in need of urgent repairs. That means they needed to be fixed within two days or the house might have to be vacated. Another 32 percent needed “high priority” repairs within 10 days. That’s 80 percent of the Housing New Zealand properties in the trial that need pretty serious work.

There’s more: 33 percent failed the WoF not only because was there no insulation, but also no way to heat the house. And 22 percent didn’t have functioning bathroom and toilet doors; 10 percent had significant mould.

That seems much less pedantic, although it won’t come as much of a surprise to anyone who’s been following recent developments in social housing. The poor quality of state housing is part of the reason the Government wants to sell some of them off to social housing providers. And a damp state house was last month cited by a coroner as contributing to the death of todder Emma Lita-Bourne in Auckland.

“22 percent didn’t have functioning bathroom and toilet doors” – WTF? 80 percent needed serious work – WTF? This is negligence on a massive scale. How has this been allowed to happen?

One relevant factor is the shape that housing in when the Nats took over in 2008. I haven’t found anything definitive (If anyone knows of real data on this please say so in comments), but neither of the following from 2008 suggests a crisis. From the Report from the Controller and Auditor-Generalon Housing New Zealand Corporation: Maintenance of state housing

The Auditor-General found that the HNZC’s overall systems for maintaining its State houses are comprehensive and effective, but that the systems it uses to assess the condition of its properties and measure its performance are inadequate.

From the 2008 Briefing to the Incoming Minister of Housing:

Like the general housing stock, the Corporation’s own state housing stock is ageing, and has ongoing and increasing maintenance and modernisation requirements. For every dwelling, the Corporation spends about $3,000 a year on maintenance. However, a backlog of repairs remains, which the Corporation is working to reduce.

Since then:

Duncan Garner talks with Peter Hannam, former Housing New Zealand Principal Advisor Quality, about the condition of state houses and what goes on behind the scenes. He says changes by the National Government means there are less tenancy managers checking the status of houses.

Interesting interview, check it out. At 05:45:

Hannam: “Under the Labour government the money was coming through and they were heading in the right direction. … [Under National] The focus had gone on to redevelopment and the provision of new housing.”

This needs a proper investigation – why were state houses allowed to get this bad? And as a footnote, do those Aussie buyers the Nats are so keen on know what they’re getting?

17 comments on “The state of state houses ”

  1. dukeofurl 1

    I have a former HNZ maintenance manager on radio saying that after National took power there was a definite ‘move away’ from maintaining the older houses, and the money was spent on the ‘redevelopment’ side

    • Charles 1.1

      Yeah, that’s the direction to look. I too recently watched/read an article about how maintenance budget had been witheld/tucked away/reassigned. Can’t for the life of me remember where. It might have been the public meeting at…hang on a sec…. will go look.

  2. Penny Bright 2

    Haven’t we been here before?

    ‘Create a crisis so people see the need for reform’?

    Run down the State Housing asset – then use that as the excuse to hock it off?

    Who benefits?

    Follow the dollar ……

    Penny Bright

    • maui 2.1

      Good point Penny. I know of a group of state houses that had earthquake risk concerns (two-storey timber frame weatherboard houses). They were tested by government and found to fail. There did not seem to be much investigation into how they could be made safe. Now they have been bowled. This whole process was covered by the media, it reinforces the public view that the buildings are worthless.

    • hoom 2.2

      Thats exactly Nick Smiths MO.
      He does it wherever he is assigned.

  3. Re: the aussie buyers, my guess is that they will be able to cherry pick the houses they buy. Probably a tight grouping in an rapidly appreciating Auckland suburb.

    • David H 3.1

      All bowled for multi million buck Mcpads.

      • Yep, that’s my pick. See out the minimum terms of the contract to provide the social housing (5 years? Ten years?), then flog ’em off and take the profits back to Oz.

        • David H 3.1.1.1

          And with a shit load of money due to come out of china, how many more will disappear and be made into what? Gated communities, to keep the riff raff out?

        • adam 3.1.1.2

          You’re in optimistic mode today te reo putake, my guess the requirement will be 5 years maximum. Or if my cynicism gets’ full blown, a 2+2 deal with exclusions on issues of maintenance, or more specifically a ‘state of repair’ clause, which gives them a right to sell if it is too expensive to repair.

  4. Save NZ 4

    It’s all about asset sales for the Nats.

    Providing social housing is against what the Nats stand for.

    No surprises to me the maintenance budget has ‘disappeared’.

    And that the houses are being hocked off…

    One thing also to look at, is with the privatisation of power the increase in the ‘daily charge’. Even if you can’t afford power you are forced into debt. So even if there was a heating source can the tenant afford to heat the house?

  5. Ch_ch chiquita 5

    After what I read yesterday about how the government is manipulating the money going into Christchurch rebuild and back tracking on signed projects, I will not be surprised if somewhere there is an impressive budget for HNZ so they can scream back at opposition about how much more this government is allocating for the maintenance of the housing stock and that the poor condition of the houses is just proof that HNZ is not functioning and thus privatization is the way forward.

  6. Descendant Of Sssmith 6

    Would be interesting to see the provincial disparity as well.

    It seems small town Housing NZ properties have been allowed to run down at a much faster rate than Auckland’s for instance.

    A breakdown of maintenance spend by town/region would also be useful.

    There’s also of course the issue that if you no longer have a state house for life you’re likely less inclined to fix that stuff yourself as many people did.

    Lots of people put in fences and driveways and carports and gardens etc cause they treated it as their own home.

    The saddest thing is that the very rent the (poor in every sense of the word) tenants pay is being used to pay dividends to government instead of paying for maintenance.

    Alongside this people I know were kicked off the waiting lists in the couple of years prior to transferring the responsibility to WINZ. Would be interesting to see a graph of the waiting list for the last five or so years to see if it shows this.

  7. Mike the Savage One 7

    Years of neglect, decades of neglect we may honestly say, and hence you get this state of affairs, and then of course, coming National and ACT, hey, this “does not work”, “the state cannot do things”, we need to sell and privatise.

    Just more proof of the old, well proved agenda, neglect, complain, sell and rid yourself of responsibilities.

    So Nick Smith can get all enraged about Labour’s Phil Twyford making allegedly discriminatory remarks, go and sort out your own back-yard, Mr Smith, without excuses. Hiding this shameful state of affairs should actually cost you your damned job, having also failed with addressing the housing affordability crisis in Auckland.

    Nick resign, the way you handle your job and portfolio is a disgrace!!!

  8. The state of state houses is an abomination. That is what the state of state housing is.

    Like the Government presiding over it at the moment.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Twenty highlights of 2020
    As we welcome in the new year, our focus is on continuing to keep New Zealanders safe and moving forward with our economic recovery. There’s a lot to get on with, but before we say a final goodbye to 2020, here’s a quick look back at some of the milestones ...
    2 weeks ago

  • Cook Islanders to resume travel to New Zealand
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown have announced passengers from the Cook Islands can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand from 21 January, enabling access to essential services such as health. “Following confirmation of the Cook Islands’ COVID ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • Supporting communities and landowners to grow employment opportunities
    Jobs for Nature funding is being made available to conservation groups and landowners to employ staff and contractors in a move aimed at boosting local biodiversity-focused projects, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan has announced. It is estimated some 400-plus jobs will be created with employment opportunities in ecology, restoration, trapping, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Border exception for some returning international tertiary students
    The Government has approved an exception class for 1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began. The exception will allow students to return to New Zealand in stages from April 2021. “Our top priority continues ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Tiwai deal gives time for managed transition
    Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New member for APEC Business Advisory Council
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has appointed Anna Curzon to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). The leader of each APEC economy appoints three private sector representatives to ABAC. ABAC provides advice to leaders annually on business priorities. “ABAC helps ensure that APEC’s work programme is informed by business community perspectives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Govt’s careful economic management recognised
    The Government’s prudent fiscal management and strong policy programme in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic have been acknowledged by the credit rating agency Fitch. Fitch has today affirmed New Zealand’s local currency rating at AA+ with a stable outlook and foreign currency rating at AA with a positive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Additional actions to keep COVID-19 out of NZ
    The Government is putting in place a suite of additional actions to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, including new emerging variants, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, it’s clear that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • 19 projects will clean up and protect waterways
    $36 million of Government funding alongside councils and others for 19 projects Investment will clean up and protect waterways and create local jobs Boots on the ground expected in Q2 of 2021 Funding part of the Jobs for Nature policy package A package of 19 projects will help clean up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • New Zealand Government acknowledges 175th anniversary of Battle of Ruapekapeka
    The commemoration of the 175th anniversary of the Battle of Ruapekapeka represents an opportunity for all New Zealanders to reflect on the role these conflicts have had in creating our modern nation, says Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Kiri Allan. “The Battle at Te Ruapekapeka Pā, which took ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Better care for babies with tongue-tie
    Babies born with tongue-tie will be assessed and treated consistently under new guidelines released by the Ministry of Health, Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today. Around 5% to 10% of babies are born with a tongue-tie, or ankyloglossia, in New Zealand each year. At least half can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Prisoner disorder event at Waikeria Prison over
    The prisoner disorder event at Waikeria Prison is over, with all remaining prisoners now safely and securely detained, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says. The majority of those involved in the event are members of the Mongols and Comancheros. Five of the men are deportees from Australia, with three subject to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Pre-departure COVID-19 test for travellers from the UK and the US from 15 January
    Travellers from the United Kingdom or the United States bound for New Zealand will be required to get a negative test result for COVID-19 before departing, and work is underway to extend the requirement to other long haul flights to New Zealand, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today. “The new PCR test requirement, foreshadowed last ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • PM congratulates New Year Honour recipients
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has added her warm congratulations to the New Zealanders recognised for their contributions to their communities and the country in the New Year 2021 Honours List. “The past year has been one that few of us could have imagined. In spite of all the things that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • David Parker congratulates New Year 2021 Honours recipients
    Attorney-General and Minister for the Environment David Parker has congratulated two retired judges who have had their contributions to the country and their communities recognised in the New Year 2021 Honours list. The Hon Tony Randerson QC has been appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Year’s Honours highlights outstanding Pacific leadership through challenging year
    Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says the New Year’s Honours List 2021 highlights again the outstanding contribution made by Pacific people across Aotearoa. “We are acknowledging the work of 13 Pacific leaders in the New Year’s Honours, representing a number of sectors including health, education, community, sports, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Supporting seniors to embrace technology
    The Government’s investment in digital literacy training for seniors has led to more than 250 people participating so far, helping them stay connected. “COVID-19 has meant older New Zealanders are showing more interest in learning how to use technology like Zoom and Skype so they can to keep in touch ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Additional COVID-19 tests for returnees from higher risk countries
    New virus variants and ongoing high rates of diseases in some countries prompt additional border protections Extra (day zero or day one) test to be in place this week New ways of reducing risk before people embark on travel being investigated, including pre-departure testing for people leaving the United Kingdom ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago