State housing fantasies and a tale of two graphs


Yesterday Labour once again championed it’s building of state houses with a typical smoke and mirrors announcement by Prime Minister Chris Hipkins and Housing Minister Megan Woods.

Labour housing spokeswoman Megan Woods has promised 6000 additional public and transitional housing places if Labour is elected.

The promise was made at a campaign event in Wellington where Labour Leader Chris Hipkins warned National would wind back progress on state house construction.

The policy was costed at $6.2 billion in new capital spending and $765 million in new operating spending (over the next four years). The new money begins in the 2025/26 year and stretches out to 2027/28. It would bring the total additional public and transitional places delivered under Labour to 27,000. The places will be a mixture of newly-built homes and homes purchased from the existing stock of houses and turned into public housing.

The government continues to repeat these deeply misleading figures on the number of state houses it has built – ignoring the thousands which have been demolished and the land sold to private property developers. The net increase in state houses is minimal. Much of the increase is from community housing providers which have contracted existing private homes and then received an IRRS (Income Related Rental Subsidy) from the government to make it work. In other words these are NOT newbuilds and most will not even be state houses.

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Labour is right to condemn the previous National government’s decision to sell state houses in Tauranga (1124 sold to IHC) but those houses remain as “social housing” with IRRS rents. Otherwise Labour has sold as many state houses as National and has plans to sell many billions in state house land to private property developers. That is where the $6.2 billion in “new capital spending” will come from – part of the largest privatisation of state assets since the 1990s.

We shouldn’t expect anything better from National/Act who will be only too happy to continue this Labour policy of privatisation of state house land.

Interestingly some time in the last month or so the Ministry of Social Development changed the way they present the state house waiting list on their website. Here is the latest graph on their front page.

It is a truncated view of what normally appeared and seems to show at least Labour is holding the numbers steady. However, a much longer time period used to be shown on the front page. Here is what the longer graph looks like, although it misses the period from December 2017 when Labour was first elected – at that time the waiting list was just over 5,000.

Is someone in the Ministry trying to obscure the Labour government’s housing failures?

Smoke and mirrors indeed.



  1. Good piece.

    Did Megan Wood really say in the media yesterday, “judge us on our record”. Oh ny God, Megan… your record is terrible. Shit. A joke. Its one of the many reasons Labour is mid 20’s. Its like Ted Bundy telling a jury, “look at my dating record”! Ah Ted, we have!

    But smoke and mirrors indeed. Nothing to be proud of here Labour!

  2. Whether one should take the demolished houses into account depends on whether they were unsuitable or not. If they were were unsuitable anyway then the 13,000 figure would have to stand.

    • The real question I think should be what is the difference between Labour and National. A cigarette paper, they should form a coalition and leave ACT out. Te Pati Maori and the Greens could form a coalition also.
      I can see Labour going down down down and forever out of our lives as Te Pati Maori and the Greens move up and up.

      • Ae. The ‘Alliance’ reunited maybe? TMP, the unmental side of the greens and the dregs of what’s left of the labour party maybe?

  3. The cost of housing in NZ is a catastrophe. It just doesn’t make sense that houses in a place with so much land cost so much. NZ is broken.

    • That’s because 98% of our politicians (local and central government) want it that way.

      It’s where their capital is invested, and it’s where their voters’ capital is invested.

      House prices going down would ruin lots of people’s plans for retirement and leaving an inheritance for children.

      • You’re right about the inheritance thing – I’m deeply concerned about leaving an inheritance for my kids. The interesting this is that it’s not a concern my parents and grandparents had – probably because it was clear in those days that hard work was enough to make sure you secured a house

    • @ Yeti.
      You write “NZ is broken.”
      Not for the 14 multi-billionaires, the 3118 multi-billionaires with private wealth in excess of $50 million each and the four foreign owned banks stealing our money at a rate of $180.00 a second after tax, it isn’t.
      So? If it isn’t broken for the aforementioned and yet it is for us normal, human, human-beings then what does that tell you? Take your time. Fuck it. Time’s up.
      What’s broken is the wrong forest our politicians are paid by us to bark up. We pay those useless, crafty, greedy fuckers HUGE money and yet they still can’t fix that which is glaringly fucked. The PM gets paid just on $10,000.00 a week! A WEEK! @ $471,049 a year, before tax one would hope.
      Here’s a few points of distress and aghastedness. It’s mandated that we must enrol but we don’t have to vote . So what the fuck’s that about? It says to me that the scum who rip us off need to know who we are, where we are and how vulnerable they can keep us while they exploit us, and those fuckers won’t just be politicians, it’ll be the lobbyists who purchase our politicians to be their playthings to create the absurd wealth the 14 multi-billionaires, the 3118 multi-billionaires with private wealth in excess of $50 million each and the four foreign owned banks stealing our money at a rate of $180.00 a second after tax enjoy quite a bit.
      We really, really need to get our heads around that one. Never mind the footy, now put the beersies’s down and grow the fuck up! Become Gentle-person Adults and come to grips with not that other fellows calf muscle because the idiot sport he’s playing sees him with his face in your arse. No, not that one. Get to grips with how you schmucks are being played for being the schmucks you are.
      You stupid fucking farmers grow world class goods and then you give it away. Are you fucking insane?
      You dopey townie fucking morons can’t wait to have sleepless nights worrying about multi-million dollar mortgages that you’ve been brainwashed into becoming responsible for. Are you fucking mad!
      The banksters literally rob you blind then they lend you back the money you paid them to take off you so they can sell it back to you at ever increasing interest rates. Then, once you’ve abandoned all hope you leverage a large black 4×4 with a snorkel and a plastic bonnet vacuum cleaner attachment against the logical-fallacy that’s your mortgage to drive to a freezing cold muddy paddock and there, you to roll about in the mud to get injured, hopefully, while chasing a small, pointy ball that everyone else seems to want just because someone else has it. The logic of a ball each springs to mind.
      Just imagine the humiliation you’ll all feel when once you’re in the future and you look back at what you had that you threw away while the rich laugh at you in your despair.

  4. Wonder if immigrants are driving the housing problem. If we can’t house the people we already have then why would you make it worse by letting foreigners take all the rent stock or worse become slum lords? Stop migration and we should see some trickle up Chippy. And if there isn’t enough new migrants to serve your lunch panini or check your family into their latest holiday then you might want to start upskilling and utilising the local population: he tangata, he tangata, he tangata. Bro.

    • Not that easy Ethan, there is a vast amount of unemployed in NZ that simply do not wish to work, plus the feckless who’s general attitude in life means they are unsuitable for almost all jobs.
      I can understand your sentiments but doesn’t work for everyone.
      Hell, I know of people I worked with who’s kids refuse to travel 30-50mins on a train to work, want a job ‘just down the road’ kinda thing.

      • I totally disagree. What people want it is a job with decent wages that enables them to support their whanau and take part in society.

    • If there is anyone out there that wants to work at any level then they would be working .There may be those with skills that cannot find the job of there dreams to fit their qualifications . There are thousands on the work plan and receiving benefits but they do not want to work or have proves to be unemployable .Employers have a right to protect their reputation and clients by not hiring drop kicks just because .With this in mind immigration is the only way to get the economy moving .
      This is a story all off the world.NZ people are great workers if they want to work .

  5. Keep the Govt to account on the housing John – the truth is a long way from what comes out of Megan Woods’ mouth.

  6. provide long term stable employment for tradies through a national building organisation….and if ‘industry spokespersons’ don’t like it…tough shit

  7. 70% of NZs economy is made up of shitty service sector here today gone tomorrow jobs. Add 10% of manufacturing. Then add some work-from-home gigs then the rest are make up your own thing. And that’s the NZ economy. Pretty fucked eh.
    Structural Reform is what we really need instead of more of the same ole same ole Banana Republic going down the drain as fast as you can swallow.

    Maybe a nuclear war will jolt NZ’ders into action?

    • True…oh and shitty coffee making temporary jobs called the ‘Tourism’ industry. Come to work and play in Queenstown and live in a car! FFS NZ really is a Banana Republic. And there it is. Our next big export industry! Banana’s and we should find out if peanuts can grow in abundance in NZ.

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