The absence of emotive media reports and silence from the lobbyists does not mean the housing “crisis” has been fixed

So  what  happened  to  New Zealand’s housing  “crisis”?    Was it   real, or  just another imagined but emotive issue akin to “peak oil”,  the fetish of the  Green  Party back at the turn of the century which was accompanied by grim forebodings that  the world  would run out of  oil  by  2006?

Surely it  was  not  just a  figment  of  our – or the public’s – imagination!  After all, the media  for  months  carried   nightly   images  of the hundreds of homeless  on the streets,  people  living in  garages  or –  if they were  lucky – people being accommodated at state expense in  motels.

That  was  in  the run-up  to  the general  election.

Curiously the lobbyists who were so active at that time are now relatively  muted,  although there is  an  occasional  flashback  to  the  homeless on  the streets of central Auckland.  And  those   kind-hearted people   supplying meals to  the  hungry are  still   visible  in  the  poorer  areas  of  both  Auckland and  Wellington.

Labour, let’s not forget, came to  office with well-canvassed policy   to   solve  the  housing “crisis”.

Because housing and the homeless are no longer being highlighted in the mainstream media, a visitor to NZ  might conclude  there  is  no longer a housing  problem  because  the government  has succeeded   with  its   plans.

If  only.

Far  from being any  kind of solution,   the  grand  KiwiBuild  scheme has  been   such a  failure that  even  Phil Twyford, the   Housing  Minister who championed  it  for so  long,  has  lost   his ebullience  in   defending it.

There are  even some unkind  critics   who  say   Twyford  should be  sacked for  his performance  on  it  (Point of  Order  doesn’t  think  there is  any more than a remote chance of  that,  with PM   Jacinda Ardern’s  compassion  welling up to  save him).

Critics have been  finger-pointing  at the government  over the KiwiBuild fiasco.  According to the goals set by Labour when its policy was sold to voters, there should be 1000 homes built by the end of the month.

At the time of writing, there are still almost 900 to go.

Not  surprisingly,  the  government   has   been  talking  of   a  “reset”  of the entire   housing  policy.   That doesn’t  sound   as if there  are  any  quick  fixes in   sight for  those   who  might  have been at  the sharp end of the   housing  “crisis”.

But  perhaps  the good  news   for  unhoused  New Zealanders  is  that  Twyford is  so busy   working  on Cabinet papers  he  cannot   attend  a talkfest  on  KiwiBuild.  This led  to   National’s    Judith  Collins  suggesting   Twyford  “is trying to reshuffle  himself  out of the housing portfolio”.

The    question  is whether   ministers  in  the  current  coalition  have  learnt anything from  the   KiwiBuild  fiasco.

We suggest, for  example, that if you’ve discovered  a  “crisis”   burning   within  the economy,  you should make  sure   you  have the  means and  the know-how  to  extinguish it  in  a  hurry.

 

 

One thought on “The absence of emotive media reports and silence from the lobbyists does not mean the housing “crisis” has been fixed

  1. The Government should not be using developers. If they concentrated on providing the infrastructure needed for development then there are numerous providers of innovative housing solutions. For example modular housing can be delivered 6 weeks after confirmed order and assembled in 7 days. This includes all fittings including hobs, ovens, dishwashers etc. Pricing is approximately $250k for 12o square metre 3 bedroom. Unfortunately the building products cartel is making it very difficult for new entrants. Regards. Matthew Birch

    Liked by 1 person

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