For low-income New Zealanders it’s a landlord’s budget


Just how far Labour have deserted low-income tenants and families in this budget is best illustrated in housing.

When Labour came to office in 2017 there were 5,000 on the state house waiting list. This had ballooned to 25,500 by the end of last year and has been accurately described as a housing “catastrophe” by the Salvation Army.

So what does budget 2022 deliver. Here’s the RNZ budget summary for housing:


  • $221m for Affordable Housing Fund
  • $1b to support public and transitional housing
  • $355m for redesigning emergency housing system
  • $75m for Homelessness Action Plan

The $221m for Affordable Housing Fund is to get the children of the middle class into their first home. The other three amounts are for state housing and social housing providers and if taken together ($1.43b) would build just 5,000 homes – in practice a hell of a lot less.

How does that address the 25,500 – and growing – state house waiting list? It doesn’t and Labour is happy to keep it this way.

In essence, by keep down the number of state houses the government is bolstering the incomes of middle-class New Zealanders who have rental properties. Keeping the housing supply tight for low-income families forces these families to stay in private sector rentals and pay impossible rents. The government then subsidises these impossibly high rents through the accommodation supplement rather than build state houses themselves.

For those on low-incomes this is a landlord’s budget.

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  1. So that’s a re-annoucement of Megan Woods announcement on 28 April this year.

    It was a like for like state house replacement x 4000, 2000 additional state houses plus 10000 affordable homes, all built over 5-16 years. 5-16 years may as well be a 1000 years because National will scrap it anyway. Trouble is the catastrophe is now, right now, like 2022! What can it possibly look like in 5-16 years, I’d hate to think!

    Most definite takeout is this preserves the housing status quo nicely but looks like they’re doing something now. What’s that term? Smoke and mirrors?

  2. Yup. Not the $37bn Housing Shopping Budget of a year or so ago.

    Bazooka Robo brought his PeaShooter instead today.

    They might as well call an election tomorrow.

  3. So this govt building more state houses since the 1970’s, as supposedly officially recorded, is not correct then…..

    • No that’s not correct, far from it.
      You see when a house is built by a builder, developer or speculator, for the open market. And the govt shows up with their check book, funded by our taxes, and buys that said house, the govt did not build it.

      Yes it shows on their inventory list as a new or additional house, which is what you’re quoting, but it was not commissioned or built be the state.


      That house’s value was pushed up at auction by the state with their bottomless check book, competing with the taxpayer/first home buyer, they claim to be trying to help. And in a perverse way fuelled the building materials crisis.

      This leaves us to question why?
      Are they really that stupid. (I don’t think so)
      My hunch is they were so obsessed with digging themselves out of the catastrophic kiwi build fiasco, they just didn’t care. They wanted runs on the board, so they could make such ridiculous claims “building more state houses since the 1970’s”

  4. Please excuse my ignorance, but isn’t “$1b to support public and transitional housing” about what they are paying each year anyway? (That would the variation between IRR and market price for social housing, + what they pay in AS subsidies for those not in social housing).

  5. We all know what they’re about these days. The funny bit is they know who they should be. National MPs don’t know their arms from their elbows.

  6. Capitalism needs all the help it can get and so the government puts in place all the subsidies it needs to in order to keep capitalism going.

    That’s what the government not building state housing is all about – subsidising the leeches.

  7. Capitalism requires Booms and Busts.

    The BUSTS clear bad debts, companies and speculators from the system. Unfortunately since the 1970’s it’s been a case of papering over the cracks.

    The NZ housing market has been akin to a game of Monopoly where the bank is a money printer only those with houses have access to.

    “Sometimes, the issue isn’t with a player running out of cash, but that the bank has run out of banknotes. Imagine that you pass Go and want to claim your $200, but there just isn’t that much left in the bank. This scenario is quite rare, but it can happen.

    According to the official Monopoly rules, if the bank runs out of cash, you are permitted to make more banknotes and add them to the bank. You can do this on scraps of paper, or if you have a printer handy, it’s easy to print out some ready-made Monopoly money templates.”


  8. The worst thing ANY government has EVER done for renters is introduce the rent subsidy.
    It was yet one of many stupid ideas that seemed like a good one at the time – to some people at least.
    All it did was encourage an ongoing inflationary spiral of rents.
    Landlords (I am one) cannot charge more if the money isn’t there to be charged.
    Helping people out with their rent seems like a kind and caring thing to do, until you realise it distorts the rental market and screws over not just renters but also 1st home buyers, since spiralling rents cause spiralling house prices.
    It is the most fundamental of economics and indeed human behaviour that Adern et al don’t get.
    Not that we can blame them alone as this insanity of providing subsidies to renters (which are really subsidies to landlords) has been going on a LONG time.

      • No, the answer is obviously to stop indirectly juicing the housing market be removing all housing and rent subsidies.
        They make things marginally better short term and much worse long term.

          • Not at all.
            Rent freezes would make it worse, because it would increase people’s ability to pay rent at the same time as landlords would lose incentives to provide rentals. Rents might stay low, although that is even questionable because people always a way to work around regulations.
            But houses would stop being built with homelessness being the results.
            Eventually the government would be forced to remove rent controls and rent would skyrocket.

  9. The budget is designed to attract votes so it’s aimed to please middle NZ.
    The poor don’t bring as many votes.

    • Middle New Zealand will take the 350 bucks, say “thanks for nothing it didn’t even fill one shopping trolley”…and they’ll still shaft Labour at the election.That’s my prediction. We know when a politcal bribe is a political bribe. We are not stupid. Anyone hailing this as something awesome or clever has drunk too much red kool-aid. Health tip: Throw up the kool-aid before you choke on it.

  10. The government needs to buy 25,000 homes – to house those on the waiting list.

    The homes they are building are barely enough to keep up with those over 60 and paying rent – who will need to have a state house when they stop working.

    • what they need to do is confiscate without recompense foreign owned ghost houses. NOW
      if we can take russian assets(?which we clearly are not–another story) then we can nationalise ghost houses..might get a better demographic/income mix in certain areas which many urban planners recommend.
      and in conclusion I’d like to say FUCK THE NIMBYS

      • To some degree I agree. There are still houses being bought by foreign buyers through local proxy’s. They should throw some money at an investigative taskforce who have the power to seize illegally bought properties and or force a resale with a significant % fine which goes back to funding these hunters.

  11. I would say that, because of the coronavirus pandemic which has directly affected this country since March 2020 and is still ongoing; the Christchurch earthquakes of 2010/2011 which took more than half a decade to repair; and inflationary pressures, this year’s budget cannot be anything except for a landlord’s budget. All up, between those two disasters plus the financial collapse in late 2007, plus the Uridashi bonds which affected us earlier in that decade, there’s probably around a shortfall of $8billion which could have built around 20,000 state homes.

    In addition to these facts, landlords actually have tougher regulations to adhere to than they used to which accounts for home heating, insulation, etc. Labour are happy to push legislation through parliament for more requirements if they perceive a widespread need in this country.

    Moreover, there is a trend for people to be less reliant on State housing and more reliant on their KiwiSaver. And if you want to be precise about it, a significant proportion of KiwiSaver funds are invested in either residential or commercial Kiwi properties, so effectively renters are already the landlords.

    I don’t see much of a future in state housing. What I do see a future in is of future governments increasing the incentives applicable to KiwiSaver so they eventually this country will have less tenants and more home owners.

    • Yeah Na.

      25,000 onto the waiting list in recent years – the growing numbers over 55 not owning and only able to pay market rent while working. They cannot use their Kiwi Saver as a deposit – unless they work to 80 to pay off the mortgage.

      • At that age unless you have an 80% deposit the banks laugh at you even tho the mortgage repayment is less than half of the exorbitant rents we pay. It is t by e Banks in a conspiracy to keep the poor out of the housing market. its legal discrimination.

    • explain ever increasing queues for state housing and homeless figures through the roof in you world of pink candy floss unicorns dan…

      plus gambling your pension on a possibly negative equity moneypit is pure stupidity…FULL STOP.

  12. SO IF THE ‘GAMBLE’ doesn’t pay off and you lose your kiwisaver in a negative equity money pit what happens then? expect a bailout or work ’til the day you die.

    minimum standards regarding ‘fit for human habitation’ are not ‘tougher regulation’ but in fact just common decency the fact they need to exist underlines the rodent rapaciousness of NZ landlords, if landlords were decent human beings the regulations would not be necessary but as they clearly are not regs are necessary.


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