Even if Nick Smith gets all his wish list of environment protection amputations in the RMA, it will only reduce the cost of a house by maybe $40 000 and these impacts won’t be felt for another decade by which that saving will be meaningless.
When house prices are as unaffordable as they have become in NZ, Nick is talking about chump change. His changes to the RMA is just an anti-environment developers paradise, it’s not a solution to affordable housing.
The problem is that too many NZers are simply too poor to buy a house.
- The gap between high and low incomes has widened faster in recent decades in NZ than in most other developed nations
- Across all adults. the top 1% owns three times as much wealth as the poorest 50%.
- NZ now has the widest income gaps since detailed records began in the early 1980s.
- The average household in the top 10% of NZ has nine times the income of one in the bottom 10%
- Between 170 000 – 270 000 children living in poverty (depending on the measures used)
- One of the world’s worst worst records of child health and well-being
- One major report on children’s welfare ranked NZ twenty-eighth out of 30 developed countries.
- There are more Pakeha in poverty then Maori, but poverty impacts Maori & Pacifica more acutely. 1 in every 10 Pakeha households live in poverty, 1 in every 5 Maori and Pacific households live in poverty.
- Maori had 95% of their land appropriated and alienated between 19th Century and 20th Century.
- Women earn 13% less than men and are under represented in senior positions within almost every occupation. Many are forced to take low income part time work.
- Subsidies for Kiwisaver contributions and some Working for Families tax credits, are available only to those in paid work or, sometimes, in full-time paid work. A lower proportion of Women are in full time work so they are more likely to be excluded from these initiatives and more reliant on inadequate state benefits.
- Pacific Islanders are 3 times more likely to be unemployed than the general population’s rate, they also, like recent immigrants, struggle alongside Maori against structural discrimination.
- These groups represent the 800 000 NZers living below the poverty line.
- Against that number, 29 000 people own 16% of NZs wealth, and 13 000 NZers have incomes over $250 000.
- Wages and benefits are too low for people to live on, it isn’t an issue of budgeting, it’s an issue of income.
- Poverty erodes voice and citizenship which generates inequality.
- People’s ability to participate fully in their society and enjoy a sense of belonging is vital for a Democracy to flourish.
We have a system that is built for property speculators and leaving it to the market is what has gotten us into this problem in the first place. We need a State with a focus on providing affordable housing, even Labour’s much vaunted ‘Kiwibuild’ will only provide homes for the kids of the middle classes.
We need more state houses and Government backed mortgages for the poor. This problem requires actual direct action by the state and we need to punish speculators. The problem is that the only illusion of wealth that the middles classes have is from their over inflated property valuations.
Leaving it to the market, the speculators and the profit margins of developers at the cost of urban spiral and our environment is a recipe for more of the same.