Monday, September 04, 2017

This is not how you solve a homelessness crisis

New Zealand has a homelessness crisis. We have people living in cars, in garages, on the streets, because they can't find somewhere to live. New Zealanders expect our government to do something about this, for example by building state houses. But instead, National has been selling them:

Housing NZ's latest quarterly report reveals the agency's portfolio of 63,276 houses had shrunk by 3922 since 2015, including by 1132 properties in the past year.

Social Housing Minister Amy Adams said the majority of the homes had been transferred to community housing providers, but Labour housing spokesman Phil Twyford said that was splitting hairs.

"They've just shifted ownership instead of building more, that's why they're spending $140,000 a day on emergency accommodation."

While there was room for charities to provide social housing, it was up to the Government to increase its stock to meet demands, Twyford said.

Twyford is right. Providing housing for those in need is a core government responsibility. National wants to shirk that responsibility, because they don't think the state should do anything to help the poor (instead apparently it should spend our money on subsidising rich farmers to pollute our rivers or something). But that hasn't made the expectation go away. Instead, it simply compounds their failure.

As for what to do about it, there's a natural solution for governments which fail to meet expectations and are ideologically opposed to core kiwi values of fairness and egalitarianism: vote the pricks out.