Megan Woods should take a leaf out of Nicola Willis’ book

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It’s always refreshing when a member of parliament admits their party made a mistake – not just a wee mistake but a big mistake which threatened the wellbeing of thousands of low-income New Zealanders.

New National Party spokesperson on Housing Nicola Willis deserves congratulating for her frank admission that National was wrong to sell so many state houses when it was last in power. She appears to think it was OK (It wasn’t!) to sell over 1000 houses – all the state houses on Tauranga – to Idea Services (formerly IHC) but says it was wrong to sell so many other state houses which left a net loss of state housing in National’s last term of government.

It’s worth remembering it was none other than Paula Bennett who led the charge to sell state housing. This policy was adopted after Bennett had softened up the electorate to accept the sales through a despicable campaign of denigration of state house tenants. The most egregious part of the campaign was in linking state house tenants with P use and then wasting $120 million in government funding on a cowboy industry of meth testers who were paid handsomely for unnecessary cleaning and remediation of thousands of state houses. Bennett victimised the victims. She gave us a masterclass in gutlessness.

Willis is also right to criticise Labour for its pathetic response to the state housing crisis. While the waiting list for state houses has more than trebled over this term of government, Labour has been building a piddling number of extra state houses.

Of the 17,982 households waiting over 16,000 were “Priority A” – meaning they had been identified as being in urgent need.

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The wait list has ballooned in recent years, trebling​ from the 5844 households on the wait list when the current Government was elected in September 2017.

The current Government had boosted the construction of state houses. The latest housing dashboard showed that 2813 state homes had been built since June 2018 and a further 2596 were under construction.

State house building under Labour has averaged just 1400 per year. In other words, the waiting list is increasing at more than twice the rate of new state house building. This year’s budget changed nothing. Labour Housing Minister Megan Woods promised to build 8,000 new state houses over the next five years – that’s just 1600 per year – pathetic in relation to the size of the problem.

However, the media narrative is that while Kiwibuild has been a disastrous failure the Labour-led coalition has been very successful in building more state houses – total bullshit.

It would be great to see Housing Minister Megan Woods speak as frankly as Nicola Willis and admit this government’s record on building state housing is pitiful.

25 COMMENTS

    • She is no doubt listening to party members. I notice a change in the views of others I talk to on a variety of subjects. Not all members of the National party are greedy haters as some on this forum portrait. Most want the best for the country and all its people . They just see getting there by a different route.

        • Both parties have their share of those that are frugal with truth . It seems to come with the territory. Fortunately the truth usually comes out in the end so it is a pity they try to lie in the first place.

          • Hi Trevor

            Yes most people want the best for the country so long as it doesn’t effect them – like no more taxes thanks. Personally I seriously doubt that most national party members concern them selves with the poor and dispossessed at all. It is the poors fault, they are lazy, they have more kids so they don’t ever have to work, they are dumb, they don’t know how to do anything…. of course there are plenty in the labour party who have pretty similar views. The book The Spirit Level makes it very clear that if we had a more equitable society then we would have fewer people in prison, less teenage pregnancy, less domestic violence, we would have a better society for everyone overall. One of the problems with the ‘haves’ is that they think they got there by their own hard work. Which frankly I see as a joke, hard work in itself never makes you one of the ‘haves’ there are only so many hours in the day. I know cleaners who work dam hard.

            • Yep, Michael. It is an outdated economic theory that some so called experts like Cameron Baggie spout when interviewed on the radio. Rogernomics really kicked it off when business got the ear of MPs and the backhanders started flowing. We live in a society and not an economy remember. And the more dispossessed people, the harder it gets for society. It has become a two level system now, thems who has and thems who hasn’t. It is the middles who have drifted up or down and the middle classes are the most caring, hard working productive sector and are tax paying people. Covid19 has dramatically changed things and most people have’t caught on yet. The entertainment businesses (restaurants, bars, takeaways hotels and travel etc) are doomed as people hold on to their hard earned cash and buy on line and eat wisely. As our fearless leader says “Be kind to each other!” Believe it fellow shipmates.

      • We are talking about the MP who made a song and dance about the Government underwriting a 90 apartment complex that originally had a grossly oversubscribed 24(?) units signed up under Kiwibuild. It was a one-off deal to get the complex off the ground, thereby forcing the developers hand.

  1. Since the tourism sector is only ever going to be a shadow of its pre-Covid-19 ‘halcyon’ days, at best, conversion of hotels and motels into family housing is probably the best short-term option.

  2. A major factor why more state houses have not been built under both National and Labour is that it takes more than a couple of years to train a workforce of builders to build the houses! Under National this workforce was effectively reduced and Labour had to come in put this matter aright. That takes time. The builders that were available much preferred to go for the big-dollar houses where their return was big dollars -bigger than building for the state. Labour is at least trying to meet both neglects of National: build up the workforce that enables it to build houses of some quality (e.g., don’t leak!)!
    Willis, the Todd-ite, is trying on a little saintliness and it doesn’t fit her very well.

  3. Give it a rest John, this govt has overseen more houses built since the 1970’s. Yes there is more to do, but until a 21st century MoW is reinstated new housing in large scale numbers just wont happen. How about pushing in that direction. Asking Megan Woods for glib political apologies such as coming from Nicola Willis is “just bullshit”, as you put it.

    • I don’t know where you get the stats from, do tell. National built just as many state houses as Labour did during those years. Labour the ‘workers’ party, yeah right.

  4. Bert, why?
    Nicola is gasping for some media hype too and will say anything to get the media attention focused on her; “that’s politics”

  5. Willis also said national could have fixed the housing problem if they were re-elected, really! Has she forgotten her party had nine long years to fix the housing problem. Yet instead of addressing the problem they just kept denying there was one. And while they were busy denying it they kept selling right up until the election to get a surplus. So she may be able to pull the wool over some people who haven’t done there homework but she is just trying to be relevant with the election being around the corner.

  6. Yes Kat you are so right. National sell houses and Labour build them. Willis is talking a whole lot of bull saying her party were in the process of building houses but didn’t get re- elected. Why would they build state houses when their policies were about reducing our state capacity. This consisted of running down hospitals, running down state schools, under funding universities, reducing welfare, selling at least two thousand state homes, keeping wages low. And to makes matters worse interfering with the labour market by bringing in thousand of cheap workers.

    • Health has been underfunded over 30 years by billions of dollars according to Dr Phil Bagshaw, head of Canterbury’s charity hospital… methinks both major parties are responsible for this.

      The ‘growth’ that goes on in this country is primarily due to immigrants, increasing the population, both parties do this.

      Labour is quite happy with the cheap labour imports because they too wouldn’t want the farmers and the apple growers to have extorianist labour.

      If this wonderful thing called ‘the market’ really ruled then farmers etc would be forced to pay higher wages rather than be able to bring in cheap cheap labour. This also happens in the fast food industry. Imagine bringing in someone from the Philippines to run a macdonalds on a salary of $45,000 then you will work 70 hours a week for this, no Kiwi would do this but they all get away with it. Be lots of people here who would like to manage a macdonalds but not to be exploited like that.

  7. I’m a devoted fan of Megan Woods, as she is a gentle, beautiful soul and should be among the top of labour Party rankings now.

    She is a wonderful asset to the Labour Party.

    • Dr Woods is an accomplished scientist and now an accomplished politician.. Way above the average Nat MP.Way, way above all the ACT MPs put together.(That’s a joke)

  8. Plus 100 cleangreen and to add to your comments Megan Woods is extremely hardworking and thorough these are important qualities needed for Ministers.

  9. Megan Woods has been responsible for building State Houses already John. Actions speak louder than words John. Talk from Wills is cheap………….But I think you feel the need to criticise Labour no matter what.

    The biggest problem we are facing right now is Covid and its economic fall out. Please try and acknowledge what this govt has achieved with that…………….including housing the homeless to protect them from the virus.

    • Minto feels the need to criticise Labour because they came in with a hiss and a roar and have mostly tinkered around the edges.

      Wow isn’t amazing, there is no money for the poor (well a miserable $25 a week which will probably go to their landlord) and the dispossessed and those on the streets…………….

      Covid 19 arrives, money is doled out in huge amounts some of it to big businesses. Magic isn’t it really.
      So tell me why didn’t they house the homeless before Covid?

      I always wonder whether the ‘Labour Tribe’ ever criticise their own party, push it to do more. If it can find money for other things it can find money to get people out of poverty.

      Ardern said she got into politics because of child poverty and then announced that she would halve it in 10 years. Give me a break, not her kid.

      How many votes do they get from the poorest 3 electorates in the country all in South Auckland. Shame some of those people don’t vote Greens now their new policy is one to aspire to, it would make a real difference to many many people’s lives.

      I am not in any political party but have watched labour take over and move to the centre and take some the Natd ground.

  10. Yes Milan. But the article was about Comparing Nicola Willis to Megan wood.

    Wood has actually built some State houses. Bewildering to me that John would think it was such good news Willis said they made a mistake in selling some state houses. So bloody what

    • True but the comments are much about ‘Megan Woods’ our hero and how wonderful Labour are, very tedious. I am sure she is a good kind nice intelligent woman…. anyone in politics earning $250+ needs to be all those things and some.

      I am not a national party supporters and never ever have been.

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