The true horror of our obscene NZ inequality laid bare for the world to shame


Emergency housing a ‘global embarrassment for NZ’ – HRC

Human Rights Commission (HRC) chief commissioner Paul Hunt said he expected the UN’s findings would be a “global, public embarrassment” for New Zealand.

Aotearoa was scheduled to be examined by the Committee on the Rights of the Child, today. A government delegation was in Geneva to answer questions.

HRC said its report to the UN Committee was damning and covered significant human rights breaches in New Zealand’s emergency housing. It published the report in December and had lodged the report with UN Special Rapporteur Balakrishnan Rajagopal.

It said emergency housing was often not clean, dry, safe, secure or in good repair for children and teens in Aotearoa – so some preferred to live on the street.

Hunt told RNZ the UN would report back on its findings after the presentations in Switzerland.

“This international accountability – it [the UN] doesn’t have sanctions that it can impose – but what it can do is embarrass government. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child will make some recommendations, it’ll make some findings.

“And it’s likely to be very critical of New Zealand in some respects. And that’s bad news for New Zealand, that’s internationally embarrassing. And that’s the primary remedy for taking a matter to the United Nations – it is global public embarrassment.

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“There are inadequate forms of accountability in Aotearoa, around housing rights.”

Children’s commissioner Judge Frances Eivers and representatives of Save the Children and the Children’s Rights Alliance would also make presentations to the UN committee.

Hunt said: “The human right to a decent home, grounded on Te Tiriti o Waitangi, is a fundamental human right. It’s part of the International Bill of Human Rights. That means it’s binding on New Zealand in international law, but frankly, most public officials ignore it. Most politicians, pretend it doesn’t exist. And most judges don’t take it seriously.

“So the problem is that in New Zealand, there’s no effective accountability system for housing rights. So what can we do? We have to go to the United Nations and tell the United Nations that New Zealand is not complying with its binding international human rights obligations.”

He said the government needed to put human rights and values such as manaakitanga at the centre of the emergency housing system, and this would also build public trust.

Governments were periodically examined by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child to make sure they were meeting obligations.

New Zealand was last reviewed in 2016, under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

In 2020, previous UN Special Rapporteur Leilani Farha visited Aotearoa and found successive governments had contributed – by neglect – to a housing and human rights crisis.

I think it is great that NZ is being shamed on the international stage over our appalling poverty and inequality when it comes to housing.

The naked truth is NZ is a very tiny herd like settler culture with a low horizon imagination and we care desperately about what the rest of the world thinks of us.

Because we refuse to force Governments to actually build more state houses (because we are so reliant on the desperation our housing shortage creates for Landlords), we have this corrosive wound of housing inequality used to prop up landlord profit margins.

Most of Parliament’s MPs are property owners, so they don’t really give a fuck and the mass immigration and low wage economy exploiters need more and more migrant workers to enter NZ to keep that desperation for housing competitive.

Nothing will change until our poverty, inequality and housing crisis become internationally recognisable and embarrasses us into actual action.

The only way you can force Kiwis into doing something meaningful on poverty and housing is to shame them into it.


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  1. The only way you can force Kiwis into doing something meaningful on poverty and housing is to shame them into it.

    Well don’t wait for the New Zealand fourth estate to lead the way and inform the ignorant masses that we have a serious problem on so many levels with the burgeoning underclass and the enforced austerity created by starving many public services including health of the investment that has been denied for so many decades.

    Amazingly that whole story about the golden mile in Rotorua where motels are becoming long term homes for those without one and the dangerous environment that many children are subjected to with some of the other inhabitants ended up the usual blame game with no one able to take on the current status quo.

    Once again this story has vanished into the ether and replaced with soothing magazine articles like why do some dogs look like their owners.

    All these arguments about freedom of speech yet I can’t help but feel that real life realities and the destruction of neoliberalism is supressed. Almost like a totalitarian state who only shows its people what it wants it to see in case any of the truth causes a hostile reaction and demand for change.

    The many who prosper including parliamentarians at the expense of the many are an in built barrier to any change.

  2. Listen you feckin raving loony. This government has been building state houses. My Moko works for a company that just about only builds state houses. The problem with the emergency housing is that these folks ( as I have pointed out before) are the flotsam and jetsam of the last 30 years, the lumpen proletariat that not even kaianga Ora wants to house. They need retraining and re-education before anyone wants to let them near a property. For all your raving you have never tried to describe a solution to the chaotic lumpen proletariat that the last 30 years has produced.

    • Well lucky you. Personal anecdotal evidence is poor evidence. The question isn’t whether they’re bulding social housing housing, but whether they’re they’re building adequate supplies of social housing. With a commitment to building around 9000 all up, and a waiting list of over 25,000, the problem speaks for itself. Your angry, entitled, classicist diatribe doesn’t change that. Just tells us part of the problem lays with the private provider system. And the power and money involved.

    • Well lucky you. The question isn’t whether they’re building state housing, but whether they’re building enough state housing. With a commitment to building approximately 9000, and a waiting list of 25,000, the problem is self evident. Your angry, entitled, classist diatribe doesn’t change that one iota. Just tells us where part of the problem lays – the private provider system. And the power, money and sense of superiority that goes with that.

    • listen matt you fuckin raving loony if you are right and the ‘lumpen’ are unhousable why are labour bothering?….answer they’re not.

  3. You capture it, Mosa, completely. The ’35 bunch lived need, the ’84 on, at best, remembered it — that was no good, even with Roger Douglas, a royal prince of the old socialist movement.

    The major working class member in ’84 was a baronet — Sir Basil Arthur! Mike Lamb-burger was a fool. They saw the negatives of the Welfare State and threw out the baby with bath water. Yep, the rich know better.

  4. Nine years to prepare plans, make connections, get quotes and estimates, liase with councils, draft legislation and regulations, budgets, team leaders, etc etc.
    Then more than five years with unlimited budget, almost unlimited power to write the rules and basically do anything needed,
    In fact worse than it was in 2017 drom many indicators.
    More kids in hotels and cars or whatever is not a proper safe home.
    More kids not going to school.
    More violent crime.
    More corruption with drug gangs in airports and shipping etc.

    This is on Ardern and the Labour government and ministers.

    The incompetence is incredible, amazing and mind boggling.

    Honestly, what were they doing for 9 years in opposition?

    The health surgery and care waiting list,
    The mental health counselling waiting lists,
    The child deprivation stats,
    The kids not in school.

    That’s all on the government:
    A bunch of generally incompetent under-experienced idealogues with almost zero real world experience or knowledge (what’s GDP?),
    Who care more for aspirational dreams than the working family battling away to educate their kids.

    Example: all the fuss, brain power, time and energy, and MSM coverage promoting the concept, of giving 16 year olds the vote.
    While there’s record numbers of kids not even going to school and living in unsafe hotels etc…

    Classic fiddling while the ship sinks!

    This is why a lot of people are very very pissed off.
    They wasted our money, time we had to improve things, and hurt our childrens’ future in NZ.

    Have a nice day! 🙂
    And be careful –
    Ka pa hekeheke na maakuu.


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