Who are the bidders for 2,500 Christchurch state houses? Hold your noses…


I’m not one to bother looking at corporate websites with their carefully photoshopped pictures and expansive, self-congratulatory language.

But this week I looked up the investors who want to buy 2,500 state houses in Christchurch.

Amy Adams, our most propertied MP and ironically the “Minister for Social Housing”, announced last week that three consortia had been selected to bid for the homes built by our parents and grandparents.

They are:

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– Community Futures Christchurch (made up of Trust House Ltd, Whitehelm Capital Pty Ltd, and Broadspectrum (NZ) Ltd);
– Otautahi Community Housing Consortium (comprising Otautahi Community Housing Trust and Morrison & Co PPP GP2 Ltd);
– A consortium comprising Compass Housing Services Co (NZ) Ltd, AMP Capital Investors Ltd, and Brookfield Financial Australia Securities Ltd.

Each bidder is fronted by a “registered social housing provider” but behind them pulling the strings are the corporate money men.

Reading their websites is enough to bring up your breakfast.

If the “We believe…” and “Our values…” statements aren’t sickening enough then looking behind their PR descriptions should be. Here’s a short example from Whitehelm:

  • Whitehelm is a long-term specialist investment manager that partners with clients to invest in assets that protect the real value of the investment whilst providing predictable cash returns.
  • We achieve this through investing in assets that have clear and measurable cash flows and by paying a price that is below our fundamental assessment of long-term value.
  • We seek to identify investment opportunities across the capital structure and transact opportunistically to take advantage of asset mispricing.

Translation: “We love government guaranteed cash (income related rental scheme subsidies) from Christchurch state house tenants and we’ll make sure we rip-off New Zealand taxpayers in the process of getting them. We’ll lie and tell the government they are “mispriced” and we’ll make a lowball offer like the other bidders”

Whitehelm have crawled out of Australia along with another bidder – Broadspectrum – a company even lower on capitalism’s evolutionary scale.

Radio New Zealand revealed last week that Broadspectrum’s parent company in Australia was running the infamous Manus Island detention centre and alongside the Australian government agreed to pay $73 million in an out-of-court settlement for horrendous mistreatment of detainees.

Presumably Amy Adams sees this Manus Island experience as an advantage for Broadspectrum in its bid for Christchurch state houses. Mistreating vulnerable people and putting the boot into beneficiaries is a National government speciality.

And what about the other consortium fronted by the Christchurch City Council’s Otautahi Community Housing Trust? Who are the moneymen behind this? It’s New Zealand’s Morrison and Co who manage infrastructure investor Infratil.

They are no different to the Australian companies in their rapacious behaviour. They made their money from the privatisation of New Zealand state assets over the past 30 years and they aim to continue their role as one of the biggest parasites on the New Zealand taxpayer.

It’s important to understand the huge sums to be made from this deal. As well as the government guaranteed income from rental subsidies there is huge money in the redevelopment of areas of state housing as is occurring in Tamaki now.

A block of say six state houses can be demolished and replaced by 18 units with only six needing to remain as state houses. The rest will be sold for private profit.

In reality, this sale is a massive corporate landgrab in the heart of Christchurch. For example, the entire suburb of Bryndwr, which is surrounded by much flasher suburbs, will be stripped completely of state houses in favour of housing for the wealthy. Land values in Bryndwr will skyrocket as replacement state houses are built in lower-income suburbs where land values are much lower.

No wonder the money men are having wet dreams at the prospect. The tragedy is that we have a government and local city council aiding this private theft of the commons.

It is the biggest step yet in the government’s plans for the largest privatisation in New Zealand history – our $18 billion state house network.

If you think this stinks then help us fight it.

You can donate to Housing Action Canterbury which is working hard to make this the biggest election issue in Christchurch this year. We have a $10,000 fighting fund set up and have used it in part to pay for a wraparound on the Star newspaper into 92,000 Christchurch homes.

We have a whole lot more to do. If you can help please send a donation to:

Account Name: Housing Action Canterbury

Account Number:  38-9017-0034814-01

You can be assured you will get a good bang for your buck.


  1. I’ve just sent this in.

    Ms Adams.
    Is this correct?
    Or am I supposed to walk past the homeless in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland with my clients and humiliatingly look the other way as I try to explain why there is homelessness and poverty in NZ, a country the size of the UK but with only 4.7 million people?
    Please explain?

  2. Now we know why people are sleeping rough, in cars, garages. This is about as despicable as this nasty govt has gotten.

  3. Also Affordable Amy needs to be held to account because of her substantial land holding(s), as declared in the 2017 Pecuniary Interests report.
    This could be a conflict of interest as she could be a beneficiary by means of her property(s) values will bring her a financial gain just by the location of her investments.

    Need to cut that shite out … “Oh I cant help it that its turned out to be a good investment! BS!!

  4. The whole thing stinks of dirty National con artistry.
    The MSM in this country aren’t interested in what you say, John, unless you are appearing in court on some trivial trumped up trespass charge.
    This requires a nationwide organisation to give this maximum publicity and show the real state of affairs in government housing. So much publicity than even Mike Hosking will have to stop looking in his mirror for a moment and take notice.

    • I agree lefty. Like John, I put out a Press release on this outrageous group of consortia, only for both John’s comments and mine to be ignited by our mainstream media.

      In Europe this bid being on the table without proper investigation of the unethical behavior if one of the partners would bring a Minister down, if not a Government!

  5. This is what capitalism in the 21st century has become – the theft of assets built up by generations. The masters of the universe don’t seem to be able to make a profit any other way. Of course, it was all predicted by Marx with the tendency of the rate of profit to fall. His solution was not the one chosen by Tory governments, both blue and pink.
    Way past time for a change.

  6. Don’t see Labour or the Greens coming out strong against this – can’t wait to vote for TOP!

    • Why wouldn’t they oppose it? They have until late Sept to do the deal or its off, like all others state house privatisation. So you support the feline party?

  7. Thanks for highlighting this issue John.

    I moved to CHCH a few months ago and i will watch closely what happens here.

    Good people seem to always be at the mercy of unscrupulous evil greedy bastards.

    It’s time good people fought back.

  8. Shocking!!

    This is the right master plan, turn state housing into siphons for ‘social housing’ aka corporate interests getting public money rather than the actual people who need the welfare. All while having elaborate fronts to mimic charities or such like (also helps to minimise taxes if you even pay them in this country).

    The left need to get a lot wiser, forget about piece meal attacks on middle nuzilland residents who may own a rental property – the true agenda of the right is too take those rights and transfer them to the corporates, banks and big business who are not even based in NZ.

    Similar to making people save through compulsory managed funds which is not guaranteed for retirement. The average person could be invested in tobacco, military weapons and the like without ever knowing it.

    So the future state is to have the poor and middle class forced to rent a house owned by a corporation, pay water and power to a corporation and give money for retirement to a corporation. And our taxes go in hand outs to the corporation.

    No wonder inequality is rising.

    That’s the plan.

  9. […] In Christchurch they are doing the same, selling to developers with front companies/partnerships. Our Horowhenua Council CE and majority of councillors (who excluded the Mayor from all planning and execution of the deal) have told what looks like porkie after porkie on this – their ‘long term’ agreement with ‘wrap around services’  (more violins) for the elderly is actually only 12 years which should see out the existing pensioners unless they live beyond 90 odd and haven’t been expunged yet by the Liverpool Care Pathway. This is how little they really care about people so don’t fall for the ‘we care about you’ line when just weeks before election time they start bringing out the bribes. […]

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