After Public Health Nationalisation, how about a Ministry of Works?

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The enormity of the political gravity the Covid pandemic has created alongside the solidarity of a shared universal experience is materialising politically in a State that has to do things itself.

The brutal logic of the Health reforms and the quasi Nationalisation of the Health system leapfrogs to the next problem.

The same free market dynamics that compounded our response to Covid are helping create the Housing crisis. People see housing as a commodity, not a human right. To fix it we need a mass State Housing rebuild using the best sustainable architecture built by the State. That will remove the desperation at the bottom of the market and force landlords to upgrade standards.

We need a Ministry of Works that actually builds State Houses using the public works act to seize landbanked land and Golf Courses to build the best quality green State housing on them.

We need the State to do this because the Free Market has failed.

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People need hope. The creation of a new Ministry of Works that builds sustainable State housing could represent a bold new step into the future at a time when we are desperate for it.

 

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21 COMMENTS

  1. You are 1000% correct, a MoW is exactly what is needed.

    But…

    Megan Woods has proven to be as useless and as uninspiring a Housing Minister as Phil Twyford, the only difference being she doesn’t broadcast big promises first before delivering bugger all. She just delivers bugger all and keeps the charade going, poorly, that Labour care.

    She is part of a small team within Labour that has expanded the appalling motel solution now costing Kiwis $365 million per year to sweep the victims of property speculation under a very disturbed rug. That of couse is no solution, it is a failure and a disgrace.

    Ordinarily that Minister would be the passion behind a Ministry of Works solution but Megan has nothing of the sort. Question is who in Labour is going to champion it?

    • Sounds like you know her personally… So do you? Or is this just you making a raft of assumptions? Have you not spotted one of this governments MO’s yet? The “doing nothing” feint, followed by the comprehensive plan they’ve been working up the whole time we’ve all been whinging about the “doing nothing” bit… What will it take? Once they’ve reorganised everything, then what? Whinge that they aren’t finishing it all “today”? Come on guys’n gals, We all know what our excuse for a news media would do to them if they indulged in the nats favourite trick of making announcements about things that are still in the planning stages… They don’t get the blanket approval for their waffle that the nats did, regardless how absurd the speeches were… Bringing about groundbreaking legislation, and reoganisation is always going to be that much harder if they had to spend countless hours trying to hose down the deliberate misinformation campaigns the colonial press will continuously launch.. Why is that so hard for people to understand?

    • But wait, Marama Davidson has awoken from her deep sleep and noticed motels are actually a shit place to stuff victims of the housing crisis.

      And in response to the problems abounding for the very unfortunate victims having to live there, Carmel Sepuloni has said if they fear for their lives they are to enter the – who gives a flying fuck – labyrinth called MSD, who, will look into this on a case by case basis. Yeah right Ms Sepuloni.

      Carmel, you are useless, plain and simple. Please resign along with any other culpable government MP who thinks this disgrace is acceptable!

      https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2021/04/green-party-minister-marama-davidson-labels-some-emergency-housing-as-inhumane.html

      Time for the government to BUILD houses!

  2. Could not agree more–public ownership of a rejuvenated Govt Dept. to build public housing! Cut the raw log exports, train people from one end of the country to the other and get those state houses and apartments happening, AND swags of emergency housing for those in urgent need rather than seedy motels at exorbitant rates to the taxpayers.

    New gen public housing tenancies could be long term, rent to buy, and even transferable by agreement between tenants, for vacation, study and work purposes.

    The biggest battle to be won in one sense is an ideological one–a state house mega build would be viciously opposed by developers and the building supply industry, Scumlords and property speculators. Labours already flawed middle class Kiwibuild was essentially finally sunk by the industry who refused to co-operate, they wanted to keep their high margin jobs above all else. Dropping margin for social goals was a step way too far for them.

  3. By the time they get to make that announcement. All of the other big announcements they’ve made recently will all have failed to materialise.

    That is how this labour government rolls. One announcement after another and no follow-through.

    For example;

    Housing
    Poverty
    Homelessness
    Health X2
    Local Government reforms

    What’s the next announcement gunnah be I wonder?

    Free tampons! Oh no, they’ve delivered on that one. ffs!

    Hate & Speech Crime? Yup. Arrrh…what else?

    Lots of fucking about with legislation that can be gamed and changed again in the future or even, not enforced.

    This is looking like another Lame-Duck term and government.

  4. I thought Fletchers built the state houses?
    MOW involvement was more of an impediment with Government Ministers and employees with no expertise in construction causing cost overruns subsidised by overdrafts government guaranteed.

  5. Sadly Labour doesn’t have the balls. Jacinda & Robertson are too timid and trapped by their own neoliberal conditioning.

    The government needs to lead and unblock a number of things, specifically :-
    Land banking
    Cost of materials
    Broken labour force
    Infrastructure to make it all work

  6. Fletchers did build state houses along with a lot of private builders – including my Uncle Harry( who remarked on the very high standards demanded for state houses – not only cheap houses but good houses).
    It was Keynesian with cheap loans to builders, who in turn employed workers and purchased locally made building materials, which employed manufacturers.
    People paid tax on this income and spent it in shops, whose owners also paid tax and used money to purchase food produced locally which -All right I will stop now.
    My main point is that STATE CONTROL of banks made CHEAP CREDIT available to actually BUILD HOUSES instead of speculation in property. Houses were built as dwellings that people intended to spend lifetimes in. They were not investments.
    I know it sounds sentimental(sniff) but I often now think of my parents who bought a house in the 1950s and immediately planted fruit trees all around it put in a huge vegetable garden certain in the knowledge that they were not moving anywhere.
    When I bought my house in the 1990s I did the same thing.
    My neighbours complimented me on the surplus fruit and vegetables I took them.
    I suggested they could also grow fruit etc. I usually received the same reply.
    ‘ It is not worth it. When property values here( Tauranga) reach peak we will sell and move.’ and they did.

  7. Absolutely agree. As the health reforms were a long time coming, the implementation of a MOW is long overdue now. Remove private contractors from government infrastructure altogether.

    And while we are at it, introduce a CGT. The PM has said in the past, the tax won’t be introduced on her watch. IMO it is a small but essential step towards creating an equal playing field. Too many fat cats are getting fatter through abuse of business, while also exploiting a cheap labour force .

  8. Not sure why these issues are being compartmentalised. It’s self-evident that if people had decent sorts of homes, many of this country’s social ills would not eventuate; health issues needing non-available mega bucks to fix them could be massively reduced, and importantly, the quality of many people’s lives would be improved, rendering them more productive, should this be what they wish.

    It certainly doesn’t seem to be what govt of any ilk wishes, otherwise they would be doing something about it.

    Advocating for all sorts of gender gymnastics, stirring up racist broths ( full of greens), saying don’t talk mean or we’ll do you for hate speech, is kids’ stuff. Piously persecuting smokers lets the mouse-minded claim political success if a ragbag dies homeless under a bridge, but at least he stopped smoking. All much much easier than explaining why homelessness isn’t as bad a start in life for children as it is. Just do it.

  9. The housing shortage hasn’t been caused by developers or builders. It’s been caused by local government and the RMA (which equates to central government) . The entire bureaucracy sees its role as a ‘gatekeeper’ – people employed to get in the way.

    A reincarnation of the MoW would just add another layer of bureaucracy. More shiny bums on seats in Wellington.

    As Mike Moore once said “New Zealand is a country where you can fill a townhall to stop something, but you can’t fill a telephone box to START something”

    (This also ties in with our low productivity)

    • Everything local government does or doesn’t is because of the central government laws that enable local government.
      We don’t have time for a years-long review of local government. We need a strong central government to act now to direct local governments to act as society requires. Local bodies should be ordered to set aside their zoning laws and get on with building up, densely, near transport routes, instead of out to devour precious horticultural land.
      The power to levy rates should be taken away from local bodies and replaced by central government directing all local governments to apply the same rates based on national land valuations. That money would go into a national pot, then be disbursed back to local bodies by the central government as it sees fit. That way, some of the revenue from wealthy areas (okay, Auckland) might be used for infrastructure in poorer parts of the country. This would effectively be a national land tax by another name.

  10. Some time ago I thought I would check out how the other side thinks and went to a meeting with the Green leader . When someone mentioned about using the MOW she was not aware of it’s existence . I believe in private enterprise but it’s needs to be held to account alone side the same work done by Government contractors. This should happen in other fields like housing.

  11. Couldn’t agree more! although I might be a bit biased having worked for them for several years, albeit with MWD Computing Services (VCC). Not sure the current Labour Party is up for it however because transformation and kindness apparently needs to come at a glacial pace, and there are a number of ticket clippers that’d have to be subdued. (Probably the promise of a knighthood might do it though).

    And @Andrew’s comment however shows just the sort of muppetry this team of 5 million are up against. (Not that half of them could give a shit, having lost ‘faith’ in the cistern and processes neo-liberal politicians have delivered “us”).
    Christ! Mike Moore FFS! Like a lot of people in Labour atm: Nice bloke, well intentioned, with an incredibly smart arse and luvly missus, reasonably intelligent but a shitload more animal cunning – just not that bright. (Probably not unlike you @ Andrew)

  12. The argument is simply not true, that material costs are a major factor in housing costs. Though I dont have the numbers I am certain that the houses being sold at any time are overwhelmingly second hand i.e are in the hands of their second owners or more. There will probably have been no major construction or alterations except those needed for re sale so the influence of new material costs on the house price is nil.

  13. A new MoW could also be tasked with building public service networks to link new subdivisions – busways, light rail, heavy rail (including earthworks for re-aligning existing railways so they can allow for faster services)

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