Housing for vulnerable now under bigger threat from National

It would seem National are not done with stomping on the backs of NZ’s most vulnerable. On Saturday Housing Minister Phil Heatley struck another blow to our already desperately under-resourced state housing. Ignoring the Green’s call for substantial new building projects, National have been slashing budgets again.  

Now they will unceremoniously dump thousands of needy families from their waiting list, seemingly only to make themselves feel better. Fiddling with numbers on a spreadsheet to cover up the huge need for quality, affordable housing might work in Parliament offices, but it certainly doesn’t count down at poverty ground zero.

Let’s get real here. This decision means families continue living in garages – after all, that’s probably considered ‘adequate’ now. Families of 20 relations will still live all together in a 4 bedroom house, facing overcrowding, stress, violence and health issues. But that’s good enough now, don’t complain, there’s a roof over your head…

Most ‘moderate to low’ families on the waiting list aren’t ones just waiting around for a cheap house so they can bludge off the government. The goalposts have just shifted. A few years ago, we were horrified at the thought of families living in garages and at campsites. Now, it’s become the ‘new normal’.

This situation should not be a fact of life for those living in this beautiful country.

A new unit is also being opened in the department for a re-jigging of our state housing system. They have basically been mandated to get rid of as many state houses as they can, to community providers. The problem is, which truly client orientated community group has the funding to purchase large amounts of housing off the govt? They won’t.

 I predict that many state houses handed over to the ‘community’ will actually be handed over to organisations with profit as their bottom line. Heatley doesn’t want them to be ‘given away cheaply’ – a clear sign that a potentially high bid from a capitalist based group would surely outweigh what funding the IHC can provide.  

NZ doesn’t need this. The Green Party don’t want it. We will make sure this never happens. A vote for the Greens is a vote for warm healthy affordable housing for EVERYBODY.And not just at election time either.

An economist friend quite rightly pointed out that people living in garages become political fodder for Labour and National to fight over every 3 years. But from what I can see of current Labour and National policy on the issue, neither have a real solution – only carrots to dangle every election.  We have sustainable, practical solutions, every year.