Above: activists from the Bluebell Housing Action Group in Dublin; we need the same spirit here.

by Don Franks

Prime Minister John Key’s state of the nation speech confirmed Government plans to sell 1000 to 2000 state houses in the next year to community-housing providers, with more sales possible in coming years.

Key put a cosy inclusive-sounding spin on the sell-off: “In summary, the package I’ve outlined today will help more people and families get social housing, ensure more of that housing is supplied by community housing providers, improve services for social housing tenants and release more land for new houses.

“If we’re to succeed in solving some of New Zealand’s longstanding social challenges, the Government needs to be open to working with community groups, non-government agencies and the private sector.
We don’t have a monopoly on good ideas, resources and expertise.
So we’re taking a different approach to provide quality social housing for New Zealanders who need it.”

Labour leader Andrew Little said the Government’s plan for social housing is about looking after National’s “private developer mates” rather than fixing the country’s housing problem.

Strange comment from a politician besotted with private development.

In his own State of the Nation speech, Andrew Little promised: “Labour will ensure the government does more to support our small businesses.

“We will do more,” he said, “to use our tax system to support investment in innovation and research and development so that more Kiwi businesses can compete on the world stage in the cutting edge industries that make up the 21st century economy.

“With Labour it will be easier than ever to start a business and make it succeed.”

Little is right that Key’s continuing privatization won’t solve the country’s housing problem – or rather – the housing problem of low-paid workers.

Neither will the activities of his own new private business sector.

The existing workers’ housing shortage is critical and nothing short of mass occupation of houses by the poor will begin to turn it around.

  1. Margaret says:

    Your last sentence…

    Not until a WOF on rentals is put in place.

  2. Martin Lees says:

    Be nice to see an occupation of John Key’s house in Auckland. I’m sure there are enough rooms there to house a whole bunch of the homeless and/or poor people currently living in wretched conditions.