We have a crisis in housing for tenants and families on low incomes but the budget says we can ignore it. Move on – nothing to see here!
We have over 22,000 on the state house waiting list which has been increasing under Labour at double the rate the government is building state houses. And when we take the demolition of older state houses into account the waiting list is growing at four times the rate the government is providing extra state houses.
Yes it’s that bad. And yes the government response just isn’t there.
There is a welcome boost for papakainga housing – $380 million – for desperately needed housing on Maori land but in terms of housing overall this is piddling in a leaky bucket.
But the overall picture is utterly bleak.
Grant Robertson saying the state housing announcement had already been made earlier this year with the government giving Kainga Ora permission to borrow a further $2 billion is an attempt to bury the problem. It can’t.
The government seems content for the Minister of State Housing to morph into the Minister of Motels. This is sad and sick.
We need an industrial-scale state house building programme but the budget says the government is leaving Kainga Ora to simply muddle along. As I’ve pointed out before the government is in denial over the state housing crisis and isn’t building them fast enough and the community is demanding change.
As I summarised before the budget:
- The state house waiting list is increasing at double the rate the government is building state houses – its now up to over 22,000. This becomes four times the rate when demolition of older state houses is taken into account
- We are building just one third the number of state houses per capita that we built in the 1930s and 1940s when we last had a housing crisis on this scale
- The private sector is building homes for higher income households but not for middle and low incomes households where the housing crisis is centred
- The private sector has NEVER built houses for people on low incomes
- The accommodation supplement, which props up the failed housing market by subsidising unaffordable rents in the private sector, has ballooned out to $3.5 billion (sic) per year – money much better spent building state houses
- Only the government has the resources and capacity to build the number of warm, dry homes the country so desperately needs
- The government can borrow money at lower interest rates than the private sector and can use economies of scale to drastically drop the cost of building
- Interest rates are the lowest they have been for a generation – the time to borrow and build is now.
And we have a Labour government in power…
But with no heart for state housing…
The only solution I can see is to bring the 22,000 people on the waiting list to parliament and eyeball the government.