State housing – it’s time to eyeball the government


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.

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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.


  1. 1789: “No bread? Let them eat cake.”

    2021: “No affordable houses? Let them live in tents.”

    • 2021: “No affordable houses? Let them live in motels”
      Fixed it for you..

      If they were living in tents, John Campbell would be doing his teary eyed reporting as he did prior to 2017 election and news paper headlines would be daily (when National were Govt), nothing like that since Labour have been the Govt, so housing ‘crisis’ must be sorted?

      • If National hadn’t had sold them off they wouldn’t need emergency housing. There fixed I’m Wrong. That was the reason National was in the news daily. Keep up.

        • Really Bert…i can recall (as does Martyn) the ‘outrageous’ 90-100k it was costing the Govt to house homeless in motels, Labour and the MSM were opoplectic at the number!
          Its now a MILLION DOLLARS a day (363mil a year at last report) And labour are into their 4th yr in Govt. At what point do you suggest Labour has failed in its promises or its easier to blame National eh?

        • Bert, Labour are demolishing half the number they are building each year, get with the programme.

          it is not Labour versus National, they are both shits!

          • “Bert, Labour are demolishing half the number they are building each year, get with the programme”

            Any evidence Michal or more rhetoric. However if this is true could this be that the state housing stock needs replacing.
            Labour are trying to replenish the housing stock, keep up with the programme.

      • The national government is entirely responsible for AO/NZ’s current indefensible and inexcusable position pertaining to our deliberately placed at-risk.
        The Labour government is entirely responsible for allowing national and their cadre of privateer swine to make off with our money. Rather than stipends dished out here and there I want to see public inquiries please?
        You could start here?
        Mont Pelerin Society – Director “Established by Friedrich von Hayek in 1947, the Mont Pelerin Society’s annual meetings facilitate an exchange of ideas between like-minded scholars in the hope of strengthening the principles and practice of a free society and to study the workings, virtues, and defects of market-oriented economic systems. “
        Wikipedia: The Mont Pelerin Society (MPS) is an international neoliberal[2] organization composed of economists, philosophers, historians, intellectuals and business leaders.[3] The members see the MPS as an effort to interpret in modern terms the fundamental principles of economic society as expressed by classical Western economists, political scientists and philosophers. Its founders included Friedrich Hayek, Frank Knight, Karl Popper, Ludwig von Mises, George Stigler and Milton Friedman.[3] The society advocates freedom of expression, free market economic policies and the political values of an open society. Further, the society seeks to discover ways in which free enterprise can replace many functions currently provided by government entities.
        What have I written about national as being a scam?
        The national party is a scam party. And I can confidently say that because I’ve observed and measured the achievements of the national party against their stated objectives above. I.e. They and their mates are rich and we’re fucked and they don’t care. That, is perhaps the most chilling aspect of national and its in-house sociopaths? They just don’t care.
        It was national party sympathisers I.e. All bought and paid for traitors, who infiltrated Labour on David Langes unsuspecting coat tails that gave us neoliberalism which is a fine term for scam. rogernomics and ruthanasia. Charming little rats.
        The national government is so institutionally corrupt and camouflaged by its self generated righteous piety that it’s able to move about unseen amongst the mayhem they’ve caused over many generations.
        The very people who are our primary industry are so enamoured with national, at the national party’s insistence, that they simply believe everything national says and does without question. If national said said to farmers that the moon was made of cheese so we must find a way to push it further from the Earth in case it puts fonterra’s profits at risk farmers would start building ladders.
        national’s frame work is rotten to the core. It’s comprised of coalition of money lenders and bankers from the late 1930’s and if it’s one thing national know how to do it’s how to fuck us on the deal.
        Sorry @ im right? You were saying…?

          • Read this :

            New Right Fight – New Zealand. Against the political New Right.

            …’Roger Douglas was a member of the Mont Pelerin Society, as was Roger Kerr of the Business Roundtable’…Richardson joined later. All were sitting board members.

        • Love how the lefties blame all the ills on National…
          Prebble, his changing and cuts stood for 30 plus years as well as Ruth Richardsons, and in that time there has been about 15 or so years? Where Labour have been in Govt (pre MMP and post MMP) and NO CHANGES to ‘rectify’ the outrageous and terrible budgets Prebble/Richardson enacted….but to hell with the facts, its all Nationals fault lol
          4th yr of a Labour Govt and no real change….i know, blame National.

          • And the right hold no blame, head in the sand whilst 3/4 of N.Z. was shafted. Seems like the right are a protected species I’m Wrong.

  2. Of course the state housing waiting list has increased that is for a number of reasons, the first being more people are now eligible to be on the list (unlike when National were in power), higher immigration numbers putting pressure on our private housing market, supply and demand issues, Covid people losing their jobs and can’t afford to rent privately, an aging population with people no longer working now having to live on reduced incomes and so they can’t afford to rent privately and the time it takes to replace all the state housing homes and land sold by the previous government that displaced families and destroyed entire communities whilst gentrifying many state housing areas. I was a State Housing Corporation tenant for many years I was also on the DPB and the systems does and can work. In the Hutt Valley where I live our government is building state houses as fast as they can. People are so lucky getting a nice warm insulated newly built state house. But there are always some people who ruin it for others and unfortunately there always will be. The Training Incentive Allowance has been reinstated and people on benefits can now earn up to $160 per week before abatement, this is great. The $20 a week increase, well they can go and buy a 5kg bag of chicken from Pak n Save that can make a lot of meals, if one is on to it. I was on the benefit during the mother of all budgets and we struggled, it was a very cruel and vindictive policy punishing those who needed the most help. The benefit increases are good but I would like to see more put into getting our Maori whanau of benefits and into sustainable work, the TIA is a start and being an optimistic person I hope to see more.

  3. We have a society where rich motel owners are ripping off the system and housing the poor people in hovels for $1600 a week for one room in an decrepid house. Grant is happy with this situation. Shocking.

  4. One of the problems is that NZ is addicted to the low wage, low skills economy. To do this we had the third highest immigration per capita in the world and the highest temporary workers in the OCED. We want rich but low or zero income people to come to NZ but they and their relatives increasingly qualify for a state house, accomodation benefits, working for families, superannuation, free health care and schooling, ballooning out NZ’s social welfare needs.

    And for what, so that we can downgrade our wages and conditions?

    Pathetic and time the left called the right wing, woke and government out on what immigration has really become in NZ – aka pathways to privatisation of social services here and the destruction of free quality health care, ACC, schooling, superannuation and state housing from over demand.

    • We need a Labour Party to come to power, not this confused, woke, lefty, righty, smily thing we have got now.

    • You mean like a government who will sell off more state housing John?
      I do really struggle with you thought process or lack there of.

    • @john? A change of government? To who? The fucking natzo’s ? A cadre of failed god bothering real estate agents?
      I’m curious as to what else you might think of as ‘obvious’? Unicorns? If you travel too far west you’ll fall off the world ? judith collins is a cat walk model? david seymour’s really a genius with an iq of 200 ?
      Nope. We’re far better off with labour. It’s just that the collective we have to come to terms with insisting labour does what it’s told by us not what it can do to please the thieving riche .

  5. The current removal of state houses (demolishing them and gifting part of the state house land to developers aka Kiwibuild) while encouraging private rental owners to sell up, doesn’t seem a well thought out process because nobody seems to have much thought to what the tenants will do in the mean time and the huge costs of the new builds, and that new builds can be bought by overseas investors who don’t have to live here.

    In addition when the borders open and more rich but no/low income people flood in, setting up quasi businesses on corporate welfare, taking up housing, to keep the demand high. Meanwhile the private rentals are sold and demolished for the much celebrated ‘new builds’ to be speculated on….

    South Auckland rental home sells for almost $2m at ‘packed to the rafters’ auction

    Getting rid of private rentals, so they are redeveloped (which involves demolition and then years to rebuild) while driving up house prices and rents is not working. The alternate housing the government champions, are far worse for tenants – aka $1300 p/w rooms that kids are murdered in and other emergency housing and motel options that tenants are fleeing from. Not the better rental house option promised!

    Just as bad, is when anybody disagrees and points out the stupidity, instead of robust debates on the issue, woke rush into bullying mode and nobody with other views are allowed to have their view point.

    And this is the left helping leading the denial of views around government ill fated decisions on housing.

    Natz, Labour and Greens are all terrible on their Marie Antonette housing options. The housing options we originally had was a lot better than what is being touted now!

  6. Direct Action is seemingly the only tactic that will shift the Govt. on this. Well planned occupations of appropriate empty houses and commercial properties and land as appropriate. Initial entries would need to be orderly and as non destructive as possible to enlist wider support–i.e. no drug labs or people taking the piss etc.

    Second tier direct action could simply be using empty properties as–shock, horror, housing for homeless and exploited renters. And empty commercial space could be used for small businesses. Properly co-ordinated a strong occupation movement would likely see the cops unable to evict everyone!

    If a breakthrough can be made, the strategic aim would be setting up a publicly owned reborn MoW, with a housing division–flat packs, emergency houses in every provincial and urban area, tiny houses for homeless, extended Papakāinga projects, ‘pensioner’ housing reinstated, community eco villages, a state house mega build with transferable tenancies for work, study or vacation, it could all happen with a people’s movement for housing.

  7. Housing: The only thing that will budge this government into anything resembling an intelligent response (aka) intentionality, is the serious prospect of being booted out at the next election. So… Take a deep breath.. vote National. Then return to a chastened Labour party. You got a better idea? Really?!

  8. I was agreeing with John Minto who is obviously not happy with the current government so obviously we need a change.

  9. What we need is a left government with the Greens in the mix, this government has far too much power.

  10. Countryboy.
    “It was national party sympathisers I.e. All bought and paid for traitors, who infiltrated Labour on David Langes unsuspecting coat tails that gave us neoliberalism which is a fine term for scam. rogernomics and ruthanasia. Charming little rats.”

    Please show me how that came to pass in a lucid and responsible way Otherwise you need to calmly lie on the couch and take the antidote to whatever you’ve taken. Just because you swear it happened doesn’t make it so. Steady your self before your next action. Think it through.

    • Douglas was at it years before, – in fact, in Norman Kirks govt whereby Kirk turned on Douglas regarding his free market ( neo liberal ) ideas and said: ”If you ever mention that again I will have you ejected from the Labour party”…

      Douglas always was a traitor to his own party and his own people.

      And in case you think your better than Hugh Price,… here’s a little something for you.

      New Right Fight – New Zealand. Against the political New Right.

      Happy reading.

  11. This is why I believe in rent controls, John.
    The state housing list is growing at twice the rate of supply; workers often have to rent from the private sector and in cases such as the Christchurch earthquakes we have seen the rent of privately owned dwellings rise unreasonably; and the return of owning a rental property, say two to five percent per annum, is much higher than the return on savings and had been that way for around two years now, giving an unfair advantage to long term rental investors and an unfair disadvantage to savers.
    Moreover, the accommodation supplement takes taxpayer’s money to pay for the cost of ever increasing rental properties, and workers who need to rent can be worse off thane those who receive social housing and who are not in employment.
    You make some good points, John.
    I am not a socialist. I believe in centrist policies. But I cannot envision New Zealand faring very well if we continue ahead with the status quo as it is concentrating wealth.

  12. you can eye ball these fuckers as much as you want to, they don’t give a fuck. they don’t.
    They barely do enough as it is, and for what its worth, this is the best National Government the country could elect.

  13. The Social Democrats will never look you in the eye John , they don’t have to because they are totally committed to the idea that the market with just a little called for kindness will soothe the worst excesses of neo liberalism.
    This government is only in office with a majority because of a pandemic.
    The capitalist neo liberal on meth is still poising every facet of our economy and society.
    Until we remove the shackles of the market economy nothing will change.

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