State house waiting list is on the way up again – does Labour care?


The state house waiting list is on the way up again.

When Labour came to power five and a half years ago there were just over 5,000 on the state house waiting list. Today there are 24,081.

It looked as though the waiting list may have peaked a year ago and began to come down. However, it’s on the way up again. The latest figures show an increase of 954 families in “serious and persistent” housing need in the first three months of 2023.
Imagine for a moment how utterly outraged Labour would be if these appalling figures were produced under a National-led government!

The decrease since March 2022 was always smoke and mirrors in any case. It was not because low-income tenants and families got places in state houses but because they were managed off the waiting list.

Grant Robertson’s 2023 “no frills” budget has promised 3000 more “public” houses by 2025. How pitiful is that in the face of the 24,081 on the state house waiting list? Labour is determined to keep state houses at just 3.6% of the total housing stock rather than the 5.5% it was in 1990.

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They can’t get out from under their neo-liberal comfort blanket – those on the lowest incomes have been sacrificed in Labour’s relentless focus on the middle class.

It’s 40 years since Labour’s Roger Douglas gutted the welfare state and Labour remains as attached to his legacy as ever.

It’s futile to expect better from Labour but where are the Greens? We should expect the Greens to be campaigning hard for more state houses. I haven’t seen it. Has anyone?

Te Pati Māori looks the best option by a long way for election 2023.


  1. John
    Jacinda cares. That’s why she’s fixing it. Never has a govt done so much damage to society and economy as this labour govt.

    • I appreciate you’re seriously out of touch with reality, but, just to remind you, Jacinda is not a NZ politician anymore… 😉

    • The current post-1984 Labour was cloned from National as was ACT. It would pay to remember that. The players within that unholy alliance are the same players you’ll find in the fascist-capitalist Zombie-Hoards of both national and act.
      Our old Labour is a goner and that’s why we need a very public royal commission of inquiry. To dig in then make public the treachery that was unleashed onto our politics, to say nothing of the money that’s been swindled from us via their influence over our economy.
      And it’s that simple. Everything else that comes out of our politicians mouths is stuffing around their lies as is everything political you’ll read on the MSM.
      roger ‘the rat’ douglas being slapped by don ‘bare chest’ brash.
      One time Governor of the Reserve Bank
      I’m really trying hard to not succumb to the temptation to argue with a Krautet Haus, a true believer in the criminal cunning behind 39 years of neoliberalism.
      As Mark Twain wrote ” Never Argue With a Fool, Onlookers May Not Be Able To Tell the Difference”
      He also wrote:
      “Never argue with fools. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.”
      Seriously, the time for debate is over. It’s done. We need action. We need an inquiry and we need it immediately or we will lose sovereignty of our AO/NZ.

    • ” Never has a govt done so much damage to society and economy as this labour govt. ”
      Agreed but so have all the others…

      1984-90 Labour -Douglas and his dismantling privilege.
      1990-99 National -Ruth and Birch with the decent society.
      1999-2008 Labour-Alliance with some exceptions but no real progress.
      2008-17 The shyster , Double Dipton Dipper and his gangsters incorporated National led government.

      Unregulated capitalism and those in power and their donors who prosper from it like the South American drug cartels pushing their product and raking in billions and will kill anyone who challenges their empire or double crosses them.

  2. Well, at least Fletchers got a $6b bone thrown their way to build flood relief infrastructure!
    Porse that Australian childcare company got a $1.2b subsidy.

    HUD, KaingaOra got $3b to give to investor developers to build Social Housing to then onsell to investors to then lease back to KaiangaOra or sell as affordable homes or to Air bnb investors!

    Seems like Labour likes looking after investors and subsidising overseas investors a lot. FFS!

  3. This is the inevitable result of several decades of pandering to the professionally feckless. It’s like feeding stray cats.

  4. Our population almost touched 5.2 mln as at March 31, 2023, rising +1.6% in the year. That is a gain of +84,000 in a year (the equivalent of a New Plymouth). +25,600 of those were 65 or older. Since March, our population probably rising faster as net migration ramps up. A record high 16.6% of our population at March 31 2023 was 65 years and older. Then there were 3.9 people who are 15-64 for every one 65 and over. But for the first time since 2003 this metric has not gotten worse. Faster immigration will do that.

    Some real genius-level shit going on. What’s that saying? The faster you go…

    • Private sector wages have been rising but along way to go to catch up to housing prices. Why does Labour dampen this good thing by increasing immigration and exacerbate the housing crisis. And why would an over 65 be allowed to arrive here and go straight on a benefit and old age health care. High immigration is not in the interest of ordinary people or our natural environment. Let’s cap the population at $5 million.

      • There is a population replacement issue, NZ birth numbers are now below replacement level…
        “New Zealand’s total fertility rate in 2020 was down to 1.61 births per woman, its lowest recorded level, and well below the population replacement rate of 2.1, Stats NZ said today. This means that based on birth rates in 2020, New Zealand women would average 1.61 births over their lifetime.”

        This is happening all over OECD (“Western” capitalist run countries). And…capitalism is the major problem because growth, growth and more growth is what the 1%er parasites aim for due to the tendency of the rate of profit to fall over time.

        Degrowth is indeed what would benefit the mass of the working class and middle class. A stable population looking after everyone, but the boss class want cheap migrant labour even though there is not the infrastructure to look after them properly.

  5. Who is helping people complete these forms?
    It makes us look bad!
    Maybe one overeager bureaucrat too many…?

  6. And voting for the EX-Labour MP TPM will change anything? The party that is run by Tamihere who is the Father in Law of Rawhiti? That Party where ex Labour Maori MPs go to retire? You expect anything from them that you did not already got from Labour? You really don’t mind being lied to daily?

    • Well Te Pati Maori have been very vocal on a number of things including taxing the wealthy, they also have the best policy on climate change of any party… that is THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE ON THE PLANET RIGHT NOW.

  7. I hesitate to say this but what impact does the Auckland floods and Cyclone Gabrielle have on these numbers on the waiting list?
    Genuine question. I don’t know how those who lost their homes show up in the stats.

  8. These numbers can’t be massaged in any positive way–there needs to be a State House & Apartment mega build for a decade at least, including new emergency housing (not motels), tiny house precincts for solo homeless and support for increased Papakāinga on Māori owned land. With gouging local developers and building/supply industries, the Govt. needs to source flat packs from China and Europe to get things humming.

    NZ Labour, let alone the filthy Natzos will not go there because of their entrenched neo liberal orthodoxy. I don’t include ACT because they would prefer a “final solution” of some sort for the bottom 50% and public housing. So, “Generation Rent” has to force the two main parties into it with political organisation and direct action–a united new left movement is sorely needed and Te Pāti Māori are sure leading the way at the moment.

    A growth sector at the moment is Food Banks!–and despite legislation–“pay day loans” at extortionate rates. The middle classes need to wake up and join the rest of us, perhaps a few do get it now after the cyclones that have wrecked or disrupted many of their homes and lives.

    • Yes an industrial style state house build by the bloody government. Not for contractors to cream it off.

  9. “We should expect the Greens to be campaigning hard for more state houses. I haven’t seen it.”

    They are… in Australia! (And England. And the U.S.)

    Not even the middle strata have been served by these extreme economic policies, regardless of what pandering politicians may say.

    The ‘proletarianisation’ of the white-collar workers, who are sometimes paid less than semi-skilled labourers, has divorced the interests of the bottom 90% of the intelligentsia from the upper strata. The vast majority are not petty businessmen or self-employed, and have not been for many decades now.

    As such, half of the strikes in the current strike wave are from the intelligentsia (teachers, nurses, academics etc.) Extreme individualism and the petty-bourgeois outlook is increasingly replaced with a pro-worker, pro-union, progressive stance.

    Mass unemployment is about to hit scientific workers and technicians, as the computer industry begins to engage in huge layoffs.

    When people bemoan the “death of the middle class”, what they are really talking about is the destruction of working class living standards in general.

  10. That increased demand is what you get when welfare beneficiaries are better housed than people who actually work for a living.

    • There is an argument in there somewhere.
      But you can do better. Try:
      It is truely sad that hard working people find it harder than beneficiaries to find a decent house.

    • A false dichotomy. State housing was intended for all workers, and the Full Employment Policy had abolished unemployment.

      • That is a great comment.
        The sad part is that labour acts in ways suggesting they actually believe that.

      • Fantail. Loafers Lodge was lucrative private enterprise, nor state or council housing, although ultimately subsidised one way or another by we, the tax payers. Robbie makes a valid point though. Homes, fittings, fixtures, insulation, heating, white ware etc provided for social housing tenants is of better quality than those who help them frequently have themselves, although the latter are less likely to trash them, if they could afford to buy them in the first place.

  11. If successive govts stopped flogging them off we wouldnt have this problem.
    It seems appeasing property investors is more important……….

    • When a property becomes a liability it is no longer an asset.
      There are many state owned houses that cannot be rented out for exactly this reason. How does that exactly help anyone?

      Of course government should sell houses and then replace them with more suitable stock. This should be by law and not be desire of politicians.

      • The old, rundown, quake damaged social housing by us was replaced with new, modern units, and in greater numbers than was there previously. They have also, for the most part, made a positive contribution to our community, with quiet, respectful tenants and any problems have been dealt swiftly.

        • Same thing in Upper Hutt.
          Not sure how many were sold and how many are in the rental pool, but it looks great.
          Hope to see more of that.

  12. “State house waiting list is on the way up again – does Labour care?”
    No, but they might pretend that they do, so you keep on believing & voting for them.

    • They care alright.
      The tell us so.
      They even develop policies to deal with the problem.
      They are just useless.

      And they are useless by choice. Parliament is there to develop law on how to deal with problems and make us more successful as a nation. But the woke lot “woke” and the conservative lot “conserve”. But they all care desperately about fairness and whatever so they do not have the time to come up with meaningful solutions that create better outcomes.

      OK you are right. They just choose what they want to care about.

      • Yep, if you try to take away some of the perks politicians receive, in addition to an already very healthy salary, then we find out what they care really about.

  13. Why are people still using the waiting list argument National made it harder for people to be eligible this is why the list for state housing has blown out. National also made it harder for people to get legal aide. Both policies used a much higher threshold of income and stricter criteria to be eligible cutting many of.
    I was a State Housing Corporation tenant for many years and the staff were racist and discriminative under both National and Labour. National knocked down so many blocks of state flats, I lived in areas they knocked them down so what do you expect. National knocked them down and replaced them with 800k dwellings so what do you expect, now where are the poor supposed to live up a tree or maybe in a cave or their car if they own one.

  14. Beat up the mom and dad private landlords, present them as the scum of the earth, and this is the result. They exit providing rentals!!!
    Typical labour policy unable to comprend the collaterall effects of ” wouldnt it be good to do this”
    Coupled with notion that focus groups and meetings of officials can actually get out and build houses.
    This result was never in doubt

    • So the mom & Pop landlords sold out to first home buyers? If landlords are exiting why isn’t the home ownership rate rising? I call bs on your idea that landlords are exiting the rental market.

      • No, they gave the property to a property management company to manage it on their behalf. Guess who is paying more to live in the house?

      • Mum and dad investors moved their housing stock into Airbnb rather than deal with the continuing red tape that Labour and it’s Wellington bureaucracy class love creating. So no these properties haven’t gone to new home buyers.

        Ironically all exacerbated by the govt filling up motels with gang members, so no tourist or traveller will ever want to stay in them anyway.

        – make being a landlord harder and harder
        – fill up motels with the mongrel mob

        What do you think we going to happen?

      • Go and ask any land agent who does rentals and ask them why there is a shortage. They will tell you how it is!

  15. If the State was a better landlord perhaps they would not have to fight so hard to get new houses built .Neighbors fear the influx of unruly tenants when these houses are completed and the State landlord will do nothing about it . I am sure most tenants are good and make an effort but the bad ones spoilt it for them .

    • The political donors won’t allow mass development of new council estates to resume. Limited supply means more profits for them.

      • I am all for the State building houses because they can do it cheaper by buying in bulk . I am against councils building social housing as it is an unnecessary burden on rates .
        Many of those that fit into the group that qualified for State houses need other help from social agentcies so if council and state both build for this group then they will need to double up on the agency help . When the rent is not paid the agency needs to have a team to follow up and find out why.The tenant may need budgeting advice or they are not well but do not know how to claim benefits due to them .
        I have been an advocate for 2 people dealing with the staff at State Housing and found them rude and off hand .Perhaps better pay would attract better staff

      • And government has not control!
        Government can’t acquire land, develop it and build houses.
        They can even use the Public Works Act if they so choose.

  16. Maybe look at the wages and incentives for the tradie generation that went to Oz because they don’t want to come back they are too busy building homes and fixing cars over there. Maybe look at the Polytech and associated training institutes with their woke and underhanded courses on synthetic dreaming or canape making etc, all straight from womens’ weekly fantasy department (or stuff) which promote one thousand ways to decorate your nails/one thousand ingratiating greetings/sustainable racism etc etc because actually there are not that many younger tradespeople here any more. There are plenty of houses sitting on blocks up and down the country but the renovations & services are so tied up with council permitting they seem doomed to stay where they are. There are also many ghost houses which could be used as emergency housing with a law change, for instance if unoccupied for a certain period then be requisitioned. Hell, we’re quick enough to seize russian assets and proceeds of crime so not that draconian really.

  17. This is so depressing, there should be no Homelessness in NZ with a population of only 5 million! Just bloody build massive Apartment blocks like they do everywhere else in the World & goddamn provide Social Housing to everyone who needs a roof over their head, its a basic human right, as essential as eating & drinking! Leaving it up to the Neoliberal Free Market & Scumbag Property investors & Tapeworm Landlord’s is not a viable option, the Govt needs to just build the bloody things! NOW!

  18. This is so depressing, there should be no Homelessness in NZ with a population of only 5 million! Just bloody build massive Apartment blocks like they do everywhere else in the World & goddamn provide Social Housing to everyone who needs a roof over their head, its a basic human right, as essential as eating & drinking! Leaving it up to the Neoliberal Free Market & Scumbag Property investors & Tapeworm Landlord’s is not a viable option, the Govt needs to just build the bloody things! NOW!

  19. I think the biggest problem is the “not in my neighborhood” issue.

    Read the media every time a new state housing development is announced.

    • do. Christchurch City Council, historically, had policy of interspersing their social housing in existing suburbs, rather than building big blocks en masse, where a ghetto or ghetto mentality can develop. I think the nice house where John key grew up in leafy Bryndwr was this type of housing, in a stable established suburb, and importantly, with good state schools nearby.

      • Our Council ‘Otautahi’ has more social housing than any other Council in the country. That is something to be proud of. Looking after our most vulnerable! Not that shit in the building in Wellington. He is a shit the guy that owns it, there was junk all down the corridor and one of the exists was blocked. Someone who lived told us this! If he hires a manager to run the place how often does he go there to check that it is being properly run.

  20. the number of mp’s who are landlords (love to see the figures for the top levels of the public service) speaks for itself

  21. Just this week. Auckland Council Code of Compliance Certs for completed residential houses for 12 month to March this year is just over 14,000. Who will be buying these houses? KaingaOra or someone else? Or investors? Or first mortgage buyers? Or Ma & Pa landlords?

  22. My question on what is built, how many or what % is state housing for everyone versus Iwi Housing vs first home buyer?

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