COMMENTARY: By Bryan Bruce
You can’t get the right answer if you keep asking the wrong question.
A question this neoliberal New Zealand government and previous ones continue to ask is:
“How can people get to own a home?”
There are very, very limited answers to that question.
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But if you ask: “How can we give people security of tenure in a healthy, warm, dry, afforable home?” then lots of alterative answers emerge.
Such as long term leasing.
This would mean not relying on Mum and Dad private investors to house our people but creating large government funding mechanisms, eg. by insisting that the Superannuation Fund invest a set percentage of their profits in long term housing investments and reinstating the State Advances Corporation.
In short the government has to regain control of the mortgage market it abdicated to the privately owned banks in thhe early 1980s
This approach has worked in Berlin for example where citizens get lifelong leases on their apartments at government controlled and affordable rents (and, yes, people can decorate their homes as they wish as long as they don’t make structural alterations.)
You can find out about other solutions to our housing problems by watching my documentary Who Owns New Zealand Now? which I made almost 5 years ago now. (Especially the last couple of parts which deal with solutions).
Asia Pacific Report republishes occasional commentaries by journalist and documentary maker Bryan Bruce with permission.