Will state housing privatisation & health be Key’s Achilles heel?



This is interesting…

No state house sale moves: Key
The prime minister’s denial of the sale of state houses being an asset sale was “pretty sneaky, because he knows selling off that many state houses without building as many or more is just killing an asset.”

Prime Minister John Key said selling Housing New Zealand or part of it would amount to an asset sale, but the government did not intend to do that, and the sale of state houses was not new.

“The government has sold state houses over the course of the last six years, in fact Housing New Zealand has sold houses prior to that, we have 69,000 state houses and quite a lot of them are in the wrong places.”

No decision had been made on how many state houses could or could not be sold, Key said.

“But what I would say is that the government is keen to build the overall stock of housing available to vulnerable and at-risk New Zealanders.

…for Key to be back peddling as hard as he is now over the stealth privatisation of State Houses suggests that his polling must be coming back with a wave of revulsion over State House privatisations. When a right wing doom merchant like Patrick Smellie is being sent out to calm the horses, you know the horses are dead.

Key’s scramble to downplay what is an ideological assault on State Housing might have to do with the deep seated emotions many baby boomers have with them. To baby boomers, State Houses are a mythical perception of their egalitarian pretences, and they probably have a few in their residential property portfolio. A Prime Minister insults middle class pretensions at their peril.

More interesting than Key’s desperate attempt to downplay a privatisation agenda in Set Housing is the rash of negative stories bursting at the seams of a woefully underfunded health service.

Tony Ryall’s excellent handling of Health meant that it hasn’t surfaced for 6 years as an issue, now however the sector is falling to pieces and Ryall’s skill of robbing these types of stories from gaining oxygen isn’t being matched by his successor.

Report requires serious response.

Investigation after artist ‘bolts’.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

Hospital bugged by failures.

Water-birth death on list of ‘serious events’.

…everyone uses hospitals and the issue of ones health hasn’t been as ideologically vilified as it has been in other sectors like education. If Key’s Government starts looking incompetent in health and heartless in state housing there exists a non-tribal off-ramp for voters who party voted National.

Annette King in health might be the perfect selection for Labour while Phil Twyford is starting to earn his keep in Housing. Who ever the next Labour leader is will need to pick up state housing with gusto.


  1. Tony Ryall has handled health well all right. He has successfully diverted attention from woeful funding crises in the DHBs at the same time as releasing figures showing how great everything is going. The health stats are as honest as the crime stats. Perhaps that is why the Dept of Statistics staff were taking industrial action – it must be personally galling for many of them having to publish National Party lies and dodgy stats month after month and having to pretend that they are the truth.

  2. Paula Bennett said on TV yesterday, (Sunday) very boldly selling that state housing selling was “another asset sale”.

    So she being a National cabinet Minister, we now know what National cabinet is thinking don’t we all! and you can bet that any remaining assets is now also up for slash & burn.

    This is what you now will expect from all future financial strategies from this carpetbagger Government.

    As a 70 yr. old I feel sick when I see this Government dismantling all former Labour social policy commodities, and Kiwibank, Kiwirail, ACC and parts of the Health agency such as Hospitals will be next possible asset sales, just wait and see.

    As an eight yr old I watched as Dad was employed to help build some in Napier.

    What else would we expect from a former money broker?

    Money brokers are only interested in dealing in selling.

    • They just seem to privatise the wealth and socialise the debt. We have to pay for what we`ve already paid for, with the profit going into shareholder`s pockets, not back to the taxpayers.
      I think healthcare, housing and education should be the right of everyone, not just those with money, and health shouldn`t be determined by how much money you have. It`s such a shame, we could be such a magnificent country with equality and prosperity for everyone instead of for the few who are already wealthy.

  3. it’s not just state housing that is being sold off Christchurch City Council are doing the same with their housing stock. We were lead to believe that housing New Zealand were strong possibilities to take these over but in light of this information I now think that is highly unlikely. would be interested to know if other Councils around the country are doing the same.

  4. The response of John Key and the National party to queries about this sale of state assets has been a more softly, softly approach than previously. You could be right that this is due to their polling showing a more negative response to this than they expected. As John Key’s shout-out to David Farrar on election night shows they pay a lot of attention to polling, despite protestations to the contrary.

    Let’s make sure people are aware of a few things;

    This is an asset sale.
    John Key said there would be no more asset sales prior to the election.
    Q.E.D, John Key has lied, again, to the public of New Zealand.

    The man is a disgrace. He’s selling off anything he can to keep the government accounts in the black, knowing full well that his government has done nothing substantial to prevent a recurrence of the GFC. When the next housing bubble bursts there are going to be a lot of angry people, most of them National voters.

  5. Govt accounts in the black?? Where, when, how? There is no black when the govt has borrowed over 60 billion to make the rich richer. The working class knows that their grandchildren will be paying this debt off. Shame on us for accepting the disgusting treatment we receive from this regime.

    • Yes, you’re quite right of course. Perhaps I should have said to keep the Government books from being even further in the red. There’s no way they’re in the black.

  6. Social housing could be a better option than state housing if it is properly funded and the bureaucracy that Ngarimu Blair discusses in this interview is addressed
    Apart from being cheap a lot of state houses are horrible due to under investment, they are run down, damp etc etc
    Market rentals are insanely priced and accommodation benefits really only benefit landlords as they allow families to pay off landlords mortgages for them.
    Shuffling ownership around, increasing income related rents, extending accom benefits are stop gap measures.
    In order to address the overcrowding and homelessness we now have we need to pop the housing bubble (boil). Lance out the pus that is inflated land values in Auckland. Acknowledge that the free-market is an oxymoron which does not exist. The market is not free it is controlled. Rather than being controlled by the invisible hand of international finance and pretending these controls are not there, make the controls explicit. Establish a maximum rent rate. That I am sure would bring down house prices as landlords race to ditch their rental properties which will become a liability rather than an asset. House prices will fall – a bummer for those who bought in the bubble – but great for those who currently have no chance of owning their own home and are stuck paying crazy prices to live in someone else’s asset.

    • Jane,

      As a builder I can tell you that most state houses were built of much better wood Rimu & Matai.

      Those materials are far stronger than todays soft pine homes, and these state houses only require under floor and ceiling insulation to be warm.

      The framed houses had native timber used not OB (Soft outer timber) but from the heart wood mostly which will last for many years because the native timber does not rot unless it comes in contact with the ground.

      We bought one and had it insulated and what a strong warm solid house that one is so don’t rely on this lying Government as they will tell anything to sell them off to their mates believe me.

  7. “we have 69,000 state houses and quite a lot of them are in the wrong places.”

    We can’t have people in posh suburbs having actual poor people as neighbours, can we?

  8. No Martyn.

    It will be the heel ( not archilles)

    …. that he WANTS to
    GRIND into the faces of the vulnerable.

    (The “Unsuccesssful”. The “Unworthy”)

    and he WILL. He has a lot of back up.

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