Tuesday, October 07, 2014

A surprise policy

Remember National's social housing policy? The one they campaigned on? The one that talked about how much money they were spending and was all about upgrading and investing in state houses? Somehow, post-election, its transmogrified into selling off a third of the state housing stock:

Key signalled [the social housing sector] could be dramatically boosted, with the Housing NZ portfolio squeezed and a "substantial increase" in housing provided by social agencies.

Organisations such as the Salvation Army and Presbyterian Support could have a "much bigger role" as housing providers.

The mix between the Crown's existing stock and its investment in housing for low-income Kiwis that was provided by others was "wrong", Key said.

While the Government would not "go crazy" in selling existing Housing NZ stock, properties were often in the wrong place and the wrong size.

Housing NZ had already identified that about $5 billion of its stock was not fit for purpose, and English confirmed yesterday that there would be sales.

So, having squeezed eligibility so far that people living in garages aren't classed as desperate enough to need a state house, National is now going to basically exit the sector entirely and dump it on charities. Whose funding can then be cut in future to save money and provide tax cuts for the rich.

National didn't campaign on this, and it wasn't what we voted for. But they've never let that get in the way of anything. Charter schools, Ruthanasia - their electoral history is studded with examples of them saying one thing while seeking election, then doing something dramatically different once they've gained the Ministerial benches. One of their past leaders even talked openly about a "moral obligation to lie" about their policies. And this is just more of the same.