Monday, May 11, 2015

Fixing the lottery

So, Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett thinks that getting a state house is so difficult that its like winning the lottery:

Getting a state house in the current situation is like winning a lottery for tenants, Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett says.


Tenants were disadvantaged by the current system, Bennett said.

"They almost have to win lottery to be at the top of the list and get a vacant house that becomes – particularly in Auckland - and a vacant house become available. We want to change that."

But its hard to see how National's plan of selling state houses to private and community providers will change that at all. It won't increase the number of houses, merely change who owns them. Which means that prospective tenants will still need to win the lottery to get to the top of one of the lists. And it will be even harder in the case of Housing New Zealand because they'll have fewer houses.

What it will do is allow the government to dump the problem on those providers, which in turn will let them dodge accountability for it. The government will be able to respond to questions about people living in garages by saying that there is no Ministerial responsibility for it and that the opposition should talk to the private housing provider instead (who of course will not be subject to the OIA and will be under no obligation to answer questions). Which, from National's point of view, is as good as winning the lottery...