Friday, December 16, 2016

Scenes from a housing crisis

Auckland schools can't get teachers. Auckland businesses are facing a wave of strikes. The Department of Corrections is spending $2 million a year on hotel accommodation for temporary staff at Mt Eden.

The common factor in all of this? The housing crisis. Teachers can't afford to buy a house in Auckland anymore, so they seek jobs elsewhere. Workers are facing higher housing costs, so they want more money from their employers. And prison officers won't move to Auckland because they'll be unable to buy a house, so Corrections has to pay inflated hotel bills. This is the cost of National's Auckland housing crisis, the result of its neglect of the issue. And its going to get much worse before it gets better. While the bubble might have peaked, prices are unlikely to fall, for the simple reason that the greedy speculators who snapped up all the houses won't want to sell at a loss. It will take years for wages to rise to compensate. In the meantime, the message has been sent: if you want to own your own home, or pay affordable rents, don't live in Auckland. And businesses are going to be paying the cost of that in unfilled positions and industrial action for years to come.