Poverty and the housing “catastrophe”- Govt MP’s screed of social policy successes is sullied by the Sallies

Labour  MPs  delight in speaking  of  what  the Ardern  government is  doing   in  resolving  the  housing  crisis.

Take, for example,  Dr Duncan Webb, MP for Christchurch Central, who this week told the House the  government is making real progress.

“For the first time in a long time, we’re building more houses than there are people needing them….A housing crisis that was nine years in the making, and we’ve turned the corner. Only today figures have come out to show that not only have prices stabilised but there’s been a small drop in prices across the country, and that is indicative of the progress that we have made.

“How many houses did that lot build when they were in government? This government in the  4  years it’s been here has built 8,000 new houses. We have turned the Housing Corporation into a renter, a property developer, and a responsible landlord—2,400 in the last year, and do you know what? The Prime Minister said in her statement that we would have 2,000 more built in the next year. We will absolutely address these issues.

“Forty thousand building consents were issued in the last year. For the first time in a long time, we’re building more houses than there are people needing them. The Resource Management Act (RMA) fast-tracking legislation is being able to open up whole new developments so that we can have more housing development, and, of course, the RMA reforms—the Natural and Built Environments Bill—is going to progress that.

“Warmer homes, the idea that we need to go and make houses not only livable and warm but healthy as well, and our Residential Tenancies Act reforms and Healthy Homes reforms as well— awesome. On top of that there’s $3.8bn set aside for infrastructure funding so that we can unlock the potential of areas of land to make new strong communities with housing for everyone.

“This is a government that doesn’t sit on its hands and say that the problem is difficult. It is difficult, but we will try everything we can because we know what’s good for NZ. This is a wellness approach. It’s an approach which puts equity first as well to make sure that everyone across the board is looked after.So this is a government which cares and which tries.”

Dr  Webb said the  government   had  raised  wages  and one of the net effects of that and an array of other initiatives is that 43,000 children  have been lifted out of poverty.

“We are making real progress on child poverty”.

But,  hullo – what is  this?

The  Salvation Army  says  this is  not  a  housing crisis — it   is  a catastrophe.

The Salvation Army is warning in its annual state of the nation report that vulnerable New Zealanders  are in a more precarious position than they ever have been.

The report shows  17 of 25 indicators either deteriorating over the past year or not improving.

Housing led the decline, with the charity warning that the country’s fast-increasing housing costs and rents should now be rightly called a “catastrophe”.

Explaining its language, the charity said it needs to reflect what it sees in communities around New Zealand.  There are now more than 25,000 applicants on the social housing waitlist and once temporary stays in motels are increasingly lasting over half a year.

That’s what makes this report unique, according  to one  commentator – it is written by the people on-the-ground working with New Zealanders most in need.

“A lot of families were already living on the edge when Covid-19 hit our country,” said Lt Col Ian Hutson, the Salvation Army’s director of social policy.

“The pandemic not only pushed some of them over the edge, but also increased the vulnerability of others, pulling them closer to desperation.”   

 There are now 209,000 children in NZ living in a home that needs a benefit. That’s one in five children.

The indicator is marked as “no change” in the Salvation Army report.  That’s because an additional 21,000 children were pushed into poverty at the start of Covid-19 and despite more people being in work, very few of those children are in households that have pulled out of poverty.

Point  of  Order   wonders   if  the Labour Party’s  research staff may  revise  the material they  supply  to their  MPs to  take  account  of  what the Sallies  have to  say.

One thought on “Poverty and the housing “catastrophe”- Govt MP’s screed of social policy successes is sullied by the Sallies

  1. “Forty thousand building consents were issued in the last year. ”
    Ever tried living in a building consent. And how do they make them warm and dry?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.