Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"Leave it to the market"

Christchurch has a homelessness problem. The earthquake has destroyed or damaged housing, and the resulting shortage has pushed up rents. As a result, people at the bottom of the heap can't find anywhere to live.

The government's response? Leave it to the market:

The Government appears to have ruled out further intervention in Christchurch's worsening rental housing crisis.

The solution is best left to the market, Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says.

This would of course be the same market which has demonstrably already failed, and which will continue to fail in future unless the bottleneck around insurance can be resolved. Continuing to leave it to the market means continuing to leave people homeless. Which, over a cold southern winter, means illness and possibly death. But hey, that's obviously better than Brownlee having to admit there's a problem, and getting off his arse to solve it, right?

This isn't good enough. This is precisely the sort of problem we expect government to solve. We should demand that they meet their obligations, or be de-elected.