A look at New Zealand’s affordable housing crisis and how house prices have changed relative to incomes over time. Video / Paul Slater
Jacinda Ardern says we need to approach the housing and rental crisis “in a principled framework that New Zealanders would be comfortable with.” This phrase still bothers me.
To start with, it looks like it’s not that the government doesn’t know what needs to be done, it just doesn’t want to upset some people by doing it.
We are a long way from the government which last year quickly took action, locking up New Zealand when Covid-19 struck. Things had to be done, so things were done.
Now things need to be done, but instead of doing them we are thinking about “frameworks of principle” whatever that means.
The thing about the effectiveness of the New Zealand government at the start of the pandemic last year is that it showed us what can be done when we put aside the bureaucracy and the bulls ** t to meet people’s immediate needs. The country has been praised for its swift and decisive action around the world, and we are delighted with the pride in this recognition. At home, we are not up to the task.
It cannot be invisible, it cannot be unlearned. We can’t go back to pretending that hard things can’t be done, that tough decisions can’t be made. We’ve seen that they can – that big and bold steps can be taken, almost overnight, to protect people when they need it.
Solving the housing crisis and the rental condition in New Zealand cannot be more difficult than shutting the country completely off from the rest of the world and itself. We did something very complex last year – we did it fast, we did it well.
A report yesterday revealed that eight in ten young New Zealanders have given up on the dream of owning a home – which wouldn’t be such terrifying news if we lived in a country where tenants are protected.
People are struggling to save ridiculous amounts for house deposits while paying skyrocketing rental prices for homes that are making them – and keeping them – sick. People can’t even pay rent, let alone dream of a mortgage. Those who can pay their weekly rent have no way of saving for a deposit on a home forever.
Tenants are constantly at risk of having to suddenly uproot their lives, at the whim of their landlord. Houses are cold, damp, moldy, and worse, out of reach. Children of tenants have no security, always at risk of being uprooted and having to change schools and communities. Hell, many don’t even get the chance to hang family photos on the wall, one of the hallmarks of making a home a home. We have embarrassing rates of asthma and other respiratory illnesses because our children breathe cold, humid air at home.
Worse yet, we have no hope that things will get better in our lifetime. Maybe not even our children’s. Tell me, what is a land without hope?
I can’t even get into the statistics because the numbers are heartbreaking, especially for a country that is seen as a country that cares about its people.
We don’t have time for “frameworks of principles”, for political jargon and “we are working on it” for idleness. It may not be a deadly virus, but it remains an emergency.
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This notice was published: 2021-07-23 19:55:30