Wednesday, September 09, 2015

A profiteering slumlord

Housing New Zealand's rotten, mouldy, damp, unheated state houses kill their tenants and their children. They make children sick. They do this because Housing New Zealand, a government-owned corporation, does not spend enough on maintenance.

And why don't they spend enough on maintenance? Because they're cutting costs to return a $118 million dividend to the government.

This is simply obscene. National has turned Housing New Zealand from an agency which is supposed to help people into the worst form of profiteering slumlord (just like their MPs). And we should not tolerate it. The government should forgo any dividend from Housing New Zealand, and instead reinvest in it to ensure that it doesn't kill its tenants and that all its properties are warm and dry. Anything less is simply profiteering from people's misery.

Update: Just to give an idea of the scale of this profiteering: according to their 2014 Annual Report, Housing New Zealand spent $220 million on repairs and maintenance in 2013/14 - 43% of it on planned upgrades (making houses warm and dry). So, cutting the dividend would allow them to double the speed at which they are upgrading houses to make them fit for human habitation.