John Minto: Where are the journalists to tackle NZ’s prime ministerial spin on state housing?

"Housing is a human right" ... the state house sell-off "is the largest privatisation of state assets by Labour since the 1980s." Image: TDB

COMMENT: By John Minto

Deception and political spin crossed new boundaries this week with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, under pressure to explain the housing catastrophe in Rotorua, making the absurd statement:

“Our long-term plan is to get them into sustainable, long-term safe housing. It’s why for instance we’ve worked so hard to now have built 10 percent of all the state houses in New Zealand.”

Meaningless, ludicrous and irrelevant.

Why was she not challenged by journalists on this preposterous statement?

The government has been demolishing state houses almost as fast as it builds them so that the net increase in state houses over the last five years stands at a piddling 1100 per year for a waiting list of 26,664. The waiting list has increased five-fold since Labour came to power in 2017.

Labour is taking us backwards on state housing at a spectacular rate.

And neither is it the fault of the previous National government. Labour has kept the policy settings for state house building the same as applied under National — right down to maintaining the same tough criteria to enable a low-income tenant or family to get on the waiting list.

Largest Labour privatisation since 1980s
The awful reason Labour is demolishing state houses and selling the land is to provide funding for Kainga Ora. The government doesn’t want to borrow to build, which any sensible government would, so it is forcing Kainga Ora to sell land and properties to do this.

It’s the largest privatisation of state assets by Labour since the 1980s.

Where are the journalists to put some simple questions to the Prime Minister?

  • Why has Labour allowed the state house waiting list to INCREASE FIVE FOLD (from 5,000 in late 2017 to over 26,000 in 2022) with no effective policy response?
  • Why does Labour still think it’s OK to produce just 1,100 net new state houses per year for a state house waiting list of over 26,000? (When Labour came to power there were 63,209 state houses which has increased to just 68,765 by June this year).
  • Why are the number of children living in grotty motels STILL INCREASING?
  • Why is the number of children living in cars STILL INCREASING?
  • Why are the number of children in tents STILL INCREASING?
  • Why is Labour still ONLY FUNDING 1600 new IRRS places (for state house and social housing providers combined) each year for the more than 26,000 families on the state house waiting list?
  • Why does Labour still think it’s OK to keep the proportion of state house at just 3.6% of total housing stock when it was 5.4 percent in 1990?
  • Why has Labour not instigated an industrial-scale state house building programme such as the first Labour government did in the 1930s? (Labour then built 3500 state houses each year – equivalent to 10,000 today on a population basis).
  • Why is the government planning to sell 55 to 60 percent of crown land in Auckland to private property developers when we have a housing catastrophe for low-income New Zealanders?

Where are the journalists to expose this prime ministerial spin?

Republished from The Daily Blog with permission.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email