GUEST BLOG: Pat O’Dea – National’s assault on State Housing



On the 14th of April 2014 Housing New Zealand as a state agency for the provision of Social Housing is to be abolished, and the $15.1 billion dollar State House asset will be transferred to WINZ and private sector charities and Iwi groups.

The last great privatisation
The State Housing asset worth is worth $15.1 billion and is one of the government’s biggest remaining assets, housing approximately 200,000 people and returning to the government roughly $100million per annum which is regarded by accountants as a very poor return on investment, but though being a relatively small return on investment it is set to get worse.

Turning a profit into a loss
Housing New Zealand returns to the government accounts, $100, million per year in profits. But this is to be deliberately turned into a planned $100 million deficit by 2020, as subsidies paid to private sector landlords increasingly replace state housing as the leading way of offsetting exorbitant private sector rentals resulting from the housing bubble. (The housing bubble itself increased by the greater number of property investors over home owners. ie those who own two or three or more houses, over those who don’t own and have to rent.) This is obviously unsustainable and this bubble will eventually crash as the government cannot continue haemorrhaging money to the private sector landlords indefinitely.

As cold as charity – Removing tenure
Secure housing as a right, is set to become charity to be dispensed at the tender mercies of WINZ and private sector charities. To this end on the 14 of April with the end of Housing New Zealand all State tenants will have their tenure removed and will be put on to short term reviewable contracts, some as short as 1 year. Under the new tenancy contracts being forced on the state tenants, tenants can be evicted on 90 days notice for no reason with no explanation.

As of May 2012 there were 2,016 high priority applicants on the waiting list for a state house. Rather than housing these people the existing State housing asset is being systematically whittled down.

To protest the end of Housing New Zealand and the end of tenure, Tamaki Housing group is calling for a protest tomorrow Thursday March 3 in Glen Innes. Gathering outside 16 Taniwha Street, at 5.30pm, to begin at 6.00 to march to the Glen Innes centre.

Pat O’Dea is a MANA candidate and passionate social justice activist who has been fighting for the rights of state house tenants.

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  1. Figures show that more and more kiwis are having to rent. According to the latest census figures, released in December 2013, the number of households that owned their own home dropped from 66.9% in 2006 to 64.8%, continuing a trend reflected in census data since 1987.

    The decline in home ownership, has seen the number of bonds deposited by private landlords rise from 211,900 in February 2000 to 356,193 in 2010.

    But not only is owning your own home becoming unaffordable so are private sector rents; more than half of those paying private sector rents are receiving an accommodation supplement from the Government.

    In 2009, figures show that government spending on subsidising private sector rents soared by 18 per cent to $1.2 billion.

    Meanwhile Housing New Zealand has been starved of government funding. Of Housing New Zealand’s 67,700-State Homes, the majority 73%, were built before 1981. Only 11% of Housing New Zealand’s homes have been built in the last 20 years.

    And now Housing New Zealand is being got rid of altogether.

  2. When do we get to hear the official positions on state housing held by each of the active parties vying for election this year?

    As a taxpayer I’m not impressed by having any money siphoned off through the government to pay private landlords their extortionate ‘market rental prices”. It merely encourages them to go further into the BTL sector – and afflict housing prices.

    I’d also like to know what each party plans to do with the ‘shady end’ of social housing – the hostels and hotels and bed and breakfasts that cater to single people in need of decent and affordable homes. And people seeking refuge from hard domestic situations.

    ‘The market’ is a totally inadequate mechanism. For the government to direct that uncertainty of tenure be added to the formula – no, thanks.

    More information would be appreciated, please.

  3. The terrible thing about this change is that state housing is put into roughly the same category as unemployment – as a temporary measure when in both cases nothing is offered BUT temporary measures. No one, it seems, may avoid playing their part in the bottom-to-top wealth transfer. Ovicula said in another thread that globalisation leads to favelas. But the PTB would not allow favelas in NZ – only the conditions that lead to them, with no escape hatches.

    • A wee while after this interview Garner had Key on the programme. It should come as no surprise that he neither cared nor intended to do anything about it. In short, he plain refused to acknowledge that NZ housing is being sold flat out to foreigners, sight unseen in many cases.
      His weasel words about us not becoming tenants in our own land, were just that.


    All applications through WINZ for housing top ups for rented houses must now come from the owner of the house, the landlord.
    That should sort the shit out from the clay, what govt is going to allow foreigners to officially pick up WINZ benefits. Not that they already don’t, mind you, it’s just we don’t acknowledge or make it official.
    Take it, it’s yours.
    Mine’s a Sav Blanc, cheers

  5. If one could get hold of a list of State Houses – or even better, the email addresses of every State House tenant who had an internet connection – we’d establish contact with nearly 200,000 State house tenants…

    Just a thought…

    Frank Macskasy
    PO Box 40020
    Upper Hutt
    f dot macskasy at clear dot net dot nz

    *whistles innocently*

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