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

  • Government to review housing settings
    New Zealand’s stronger-than-expected economic performance has flowed through to housing demand, so the Government will review housing settings to improve access to the market, the Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “Our focus is on improving access to the housing market for first home buyers and ensuring house price growth ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Crown accounts reflect Govt’s careful economic management
    The better-than-expected Crown accounts released today show the Government’s careful management of the COVID-19 health crisis was the right approach to support the economy. As expected, the Crown accounts for the year to June 2020 show the operating balance before gains and losses, or OBEGAL, was in deficit. However that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Community launch marks next step in addressing racism in education
    The launch of Te Hurihanganui in Porirua today is another important milestone in the work needed to address racism in the education system and improve outcomes for Māori learners and their whānau, Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis says. Budget 2019 included $42 million over three years to put Te Hurihanganui ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Government to consider recommendations on DNA use in criminal investigations
    The Minister of Justice has received the Law Commission’s recommending changes to the law governing the way DNA is used in criminal investigations. The report, called The Use of DNA in Criminal Investigations – Te Whahamahi I te Ira Tangata I ngā Mātai Taihara, recommends new legislation to address how ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Speech to Wakatū Nelson regional hui on trade
    First, I want to express my thanks to Te Taumata for this hui and for all the fantastic work you are doing for Māori in the trade space. In the short time that you’ve been operating you’ve already contributed an enormous amount to the conversation, and developed impressive networks.  I ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Speech to Primary Industries Summit
    Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today about the significant contribution the food and fibres sector makes to New Zealand and how this Government is supporting that effort. I’d like to start by acknowledging our co-Chairs, Terry Copeland and Mavis Mullins, my colleague, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • Fast track referrals will speed up recovery and boost jobs and home building
    The Government is taking action to increase jobs, speed up the economic recovery and build houses by putting three more projects through its fast track approval process. “It’s great to see that the fast-track consenting process is working. Today we have referred a mix of potential projects that, if approved, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Papakāinga provides critically needed homes in Hastings
    A papakāinga opened today by the Minister for Māori Development the Hon Willie Jackson will provide whānau with much needed affordable rental homes in Hastings. The four home papakāinga in Waiōhiki is the first project to be completed under the ‘Hastings Place Based’ initiative. This initiative is a Government, Hastings ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand ready to host APEC virtually
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern took over the leadership of APEC earlier today, when she joined leaders from the 21 APEC economies virtually for the forum’s final 2020 meeting. “We look forward to hosting a fully virtual APEC 2021 next year. While this isn’t an in-person meeting, it will be one ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Revival of Māori Horticulturists
    The rapid revival of Māori horticulture was unmistakeable at this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy Awards, with 2020 marking the first time this iconic Māori farming event was dedicated to horticulture enterprises. Congratulating finalists at the Awards, Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson said growing large-scale māra kai is part of Māori DNA. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Emergency benefit to help temporary visa holders
    From 1 December, people on temporary work, student or visitor visas who can’t return home and or support themselves may get an Emergency Benefit from the Ministry of Social Development, Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced today. Previously, temporary visa holders in hardship because of COVID-19 have had ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • School sustainability projects to help boost regional economies
    Forty one schools from the Far North to Southland will receive funding for projects that will reduce schools’ emissions and save them money, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. This is the second round of the Sustainability Contestable Fund, and work will begin immediately. The first round announced in April ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Farmer-led projects to improve water health in Canterbury and Otago
    More than $6 million will be spent on helping farmers improve the health of rivers, wetlands, and habitat biodiversity in Canterbury and Otago, as well as improving long-term land management practices, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. Four farmer-led catchment group Jobs for Nature projects have between allocated between $176,000 and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Tupu Aotearoa continues expansion to Pacific communities in Nelson, Marlborough, Tasman & Northl...
    Pacific communities in Nelson, Marlborough, Tasman and Northland will benefit from the expansion of the Tupu Aotearoa programme announced today by the Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio. The programme provides sustainable employment and education pathways and will be delivered in partnership with three providers in Northland and two ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New primary school and classrooms for 1,200 students in South Island
    Education Minister Chris Hipkins unveiled major school building projects across the South Island during a visit to Waimea College in Nelson today. It’s part of the Government’s latest investment of $164 million to build new classrooms and upgrade schools around the country. “Investments like this gives the construction industry certainty ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Minister of Māori Development pays tribute to Rudy Taylor
      Today the Minister of Māori Development, alongside other Government Ministers and MP’s said their final farewells to Nga Puhi Leader Rudy Taylor.  “Rudy dedicated his life to the betterment of Māori, and his strong approach was always from the ground up, grassroots, sincere and unfaltering”  “Over the past few ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Prime Minister to attend APEC Leaders’ Summit
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will attend the annual APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting and associated events virtually today and tomorrow. “In a world where we cannot travel due to COVID-19, continuing close collaboration with our regional partners is key to accelerating New Zealand’s economic recovery,” Jacinda Ardern said. “There is wide ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Speech to Infrastructure NZ Symposium
    Tena Koutou, Tena Koutou and thank you for inviting me to speak to you today. This is a critical time for New Zealand as we respond to the damage wreaked by the global COVID-19 pandemic. It is vital that investment in our economic recovery is well thought through, and makes ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Pike River 10 Year Anniversary Commemorative Service
    Tēnei te mihi ki a tātau katoa e huihui nei i tēnei rā Ki a koutou ngā whānau o te hunga kua riro i kōnei – he mihi aroha ki a koutou Ki te hapori whānui – tēnā koutou Ki ngā tāngata whenua – tēnā koutou Ki ngā mate, e ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Huge investment in new and upgraded classrooms to boost construction jobs
    Around 7,500 students are set to benefit from the Government’s latest investment of $164 million to build new classrooms and upgrade schools around the country. “The election delivered a clear mandate to accelerate our economic recovery and build back better. That’s why we are prioritising construction projects in schools so more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Keeping Pike River Mine promises 10 years on
    Ten years after the Pike River Mine tragedy in which 29 men lost their lives while at work, a commemorative service at Parliament has honoured them and their legacy of ensuring all New Zealand workplaces are safe. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern attended the event, along with representatives of the Pike ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Additional testing to strengthen border and increase safety of workers
    New testing measures are being put in place to increase the safety of border workers and further strengthen New Zealand’s barriers against COVID-19, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “These strengthened rules – to apply to all international airports and ports – build on the mandatory testing orders we’ve ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • More public housing delivered in Auckland
    The Government’s investment in public housing is delivering more warm, dry homes with today’s official opening of 82 new apartments in New Lynn by the Housing Minister Megan Woods. The Thom Street development replaces 16 houses built in the 1940s, with brand new fit-for-purpose public housing that is in high ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Agreement advanced to purchase up to 5 million COVID-19 vaccines
    The Government has confirmed an in-principle agreement to purchase up to 5 million COVID-19 vaccines – enough for 5 million people – from Janssen Pharmaceutica, subject to the vaccine successfully completing clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, says Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods. “This agreement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding will leave a conservation legacy for Waikanae awa
    Ninety-two jobs will be created to help environmental restoration in the Waikanae River catchment through $8.5 million of Jobs for Nature funding, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan announced today. “The new funding will give a four-year boost to the restoration of the Waikanae awa, and is specifically focussed on restoration through ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Dunedin Hospital project progresses to next stage
    As the new Dunedin Hospital project progresses, the Government is changing the oversight group to provide more technical input, ensure continued local representation, and to make sure lessons learnt from Dunedin benefit other health infrastructure projects around the country. Concept design approval and the release of a tender for early ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Jump in apprentice and trainee numbers
    The number of New Zealanders taking up apprenticeships has increased nearly 50 percent, and the number of female apprentices has more than doubled. This comes as a Government campaign to raise the profile of vocational education and training (VET) begins. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • ReBuilding Nations Symposium 2020 (Infrastructure NZ Conference opening session)
    Tena koutou katoa and thank you for the opportunity to be with you today. Can I acknowledge Ngarimu Blair, Ngati Whatua, and Mayor Phil Goff for the welcome. Before I start with my substantive comments, I do want to acknowledge the hard work it has taken by everyone to ensure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • New Zealand's biosecurity champions honoured
    Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor has paid tribute to the winners of the 2020 New Zealand Biosecurity Awards. “These are the people and organisations who go above and beyond to protect Aotearoa from pests and disease to ensure our unique way of life is sustained for future generations,” Damien O’Connor says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tourism Industry Aotearoa Conference
    speech to Tourism Industry Aotearoa annual summit Te Papa,  Wellington Introduction Nau mai, haere mai Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, Ka nui te mihi, ki a koutou. Thank you Tourism Industry Aotearoa for hosting today’s Summit. In particular, my acknowledgements to TIA Chair Gráinne Troute and Chief Executive Chris Roberts. You ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supermarkets announced as Government’s second market study
    The Government has today launched a market study to ensure New Zealanders are paying a fair price for groceries.   “Supermarkets are an integral part of our communities and economy, so it’s important to ensure that Kiwis are getting a fair deal at the checkout,” Minister of Commerce and Consumer ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Masks to be worn on Auckland public transport and all domestic flights
    Masks will need to be worn on all public transport in Auckland and in and out of Auckland and on domestic flights throughout the country from this Thursday, Minister for COVID-19 Response Chris Hipkins said today. “I will be issuing an Order under the COVID-19 Response Act requiring the wearing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand signs Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership
    Increase to New Zealand’s GDP by around $2 billion each year Increase opportunities for NZ exporters to access regional markets Cuts red tape and offers one set of trade rules across the Asia Pacific region New government procurement, competition policy and electronic commerce offers NZ exporters increased business opportunities Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Minister acknowledges students as exams begin
    Education Minister Chris Hipkins has recognised the extraordinary challenges students have faced this year, ahead of NCEA and New Zealand Scholarship exams which begin on Monday. “I want to congratulate students for their hard work during a year of unprecedented disruption, and I wish students all the best as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister meets with key ASEAN and East Asia Summit partners
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today attended the ASEAN-New Zealand Commemorative Summit and discussed with Leaders a range of shared challenges facing the Indo-Pacific region, including: The ongoing management of the COVID-19 pandemic; The importance of working collectively to accelerate economic recovery; and Exploring further opportunities for partners to work more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Veterans Affairs Summit held in Korea
    A Ministerial Summit on Veterans’ Affairs was held in the Republic of Korea this week. Ministers with veteran responsibilities were invited from all 22 countries that had been part of the United Nations Forces during the Korean War (1950 – 1953). The Summit marked the 70th anniversary of the outbreak ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Clear direction set for the education system, skills prioritised
    The Government has released a set of priorities for early learning through to tertiary education and lifelong learning to build a stronger, fairer education system that delivers for all New Zealanders. “The election delivered a clear mandate from New Zealanders to accelerate our plan to reduce inequalities and make more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • A Progressive Agenda
    Speech to the Climate Change + Business Conference, November 12, 2020 Tena koutou katoa Thank you for inviting me to speak here today. It is great to see us all come together for a common cause: to redefine our future in the face of unprecedented times.  Covid-19 and climate change are ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Wellington Pasifika Business Awards
    Thank you for having me join with you as we celebrate the success of Pacific businesses tonight, and recognise the resilient and innovative entrepreneurs who lead them. Equally important to me is, that we are also able tonight to offer up our gratitude to those leaders who have organised and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Commemorative address at Act of Remembrance for Armistice Day
    Tuatahi māku  Ka mihi tu ki a koe Pita E pīkauria ana i te mana o Ngā tūpuna o te whenua nei. Thank you Bernadette for your warm introduction. I would also like to reflect on your acknowledgments and welcome Peter Jackson, Taranaki Whānui; Members of the National War Memorial ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago