Yesterday’s government announcement on new state housing is a pathetic response to the biggest housing crisis in New Zealand since the 1940s.
At a time when the country needs an industrial-scale state house building programme, the government building just 1,600 new state houses per year – the same number built by National in its last term.
The announcement was simply a rehash of the budget 2020 announcement of an extra 8,000 homes (6,000 of them state houses) over the next five years.
Since Labour took office in 2017 the state house waiting list has more than quadrupled to over 22,000. It is increasing at a rate of over 5000 per year but the government is building only 1600 new state houses each year. In other words, the waiting list is increasing at three times the rate the government is building state houses.
Ardern’s government is going full steam backwards.
The last time we had a housing crisis this big – in the late 1940s – a Labour government built 10,000 state houses per year. 75 years later Labour can only manage 1,600 per year. Pitiful.
And the government is still refusing to borrow the money for building state houses (it doesn’t want the debt on its books) but insists Kainga Ora borrow the money, at higher interest rates than the government is able to do so.
Looking to iwi or social housing providers to help bridge the chasm is not an answer. Only the government has the capacity and the resources to deliver the industrial scale state house building programme the country needs.
The effect of government inaction is to prioritise the interests of middle-class landlords over struggling working class tenants. The 22,000 families in desperate need for state housing are being forced to stay in private sector rentals and therefore keep pushing up rents which the government is subsidising to the tune of $2.6 billion per year.
Senseless and stupid.
State House Action Network