Nats on Housing

November 6th, 2011 at 10:19 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Law breaking tenants would be locked out of a state house for up to a year under Party policy released today.

Excellent idea. The criminals in state houses often terrorise their neighbours.

As for where they will live, well there are thousands of other landlords around. They’ll have to convince a private sector landlord that they will be good tenants. That in turn may gave an incentive to stop the crime.

Key said National would insulate all state houses built before 1987 by the end of 2013.

An existing insulation programme would be expanded to cover a further 4600 state houses, he said.

The Greens will be pleased.

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49 Responses to “Nats on Housing”

  1. burt (7,085 comments) says:

    The argument of ‘where will criminals go’ if thrown out of state houses is interesting but irrelevant when we have a state housing waiting list.

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  2. laworder (265 comments) says:

    This is excellent news, most of all for other law abiding State housing tenants (which is the vast majority of them). But why only a year, at least for the more severe end of the scale of offending? Make it a ten year or life ban. On the other hand for victimless crimes, I see no point in a ban at all for an otherwise good tenant that does not abuse the property or their neighbours.

    The State should still provide housing for recidivist violent/ sexual offenders and gang members however. It’s called a prison. Dont see why private landlords should pick up the slack(ers). Offenders like this will most likely lie like flatfish to get housing anyway, and private landlords like the rest of us have no access to criminal records to check prospective tenants.

    I am glad to hear that more state houses will get insulation upgrades too. Genuine deserving State Housing tenants should get looked after, I dont begrudge my taxes going towards this.

    Regards
    Peter J
    Webmaster for http://www.sensiblesentencing.org.nz

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  3. burt (7,085 comments) says:

    Oh, thats right – if we get a Labour government then we won’t have a state house waiting list…

    Sorry gullible Labour supporters – I beat you to it.

    Lets not follow the thought too hard though or we end up at; Lets take tax from productive members of society so we can build houses for unemployed criminals. Rock on Labour – killing productivity since unions started writing employment law.

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  4. Ross Miller (1,624 comments) says:

    Any ‘handout’ from the State (read you and me as taxpayers) comes with responsibilities; in this case to be a good tenant.

    Screw up on that and you should rightly forfeit.

    Phil Goff’s bleeding heart response reinforces yet again the point that he is not in touch with the New Zealand political dynamic.

    His political epitaph will read ‘I came, I saw, I didn’t understand’.

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  5. tristanb (1,133 comments) says:

    where will criminals go?

    If they’re criminals, then society should be kept safe from them. Not forced to be ripped off, have property damaged, assaulted, burgled, raped and murdered by them.

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  6. kowtow (6,685 comments) says:

    Why just one year?

    As a taxpayer I am their landlord and the state acts as my agent letting my property to these people.My agent and my tenants have a responsibility to look after the property.

    If the state can’t look after tax payers property then they shouldn’t be in the housing business,and if tenants don’t look after the property then they should not be allowed near it.

    Human rights culture is destroing public property,prosperity and personal responsibility.

    Harden up.

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  7. backster (2,000 comments) says:

    Will they have state funded rights of appeal to Tenancy Commissions, District Court, High Court, Appeal Court, and Supreme Court?
    The Hutt Mongrel women were I believe finally ejected after about ten years, and then offered alternative State Hiousing.

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  8. burt (7,085 comments) says:

    Dear Labour supporters with rental properties;

    If you have rental properties then please fell free to rent them out to tenants that show them no respect for a pittance in rent. Till then shut the f##k up about easy access to housing for undeserving candidates.

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  9. RightNow (6,336 comments) says:

    Locking misbehaving tenants out of state houses could condemn their children to a “rotten start in life”, Labour leader Phil Goff says.

    They already have a rotten start in life, perhaps the best thing for them is to be taken off the parents and placed in foster homes.

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  10. tvb (3,937 comments) says:

    If the criminal activity relates to the abuse ofbthe state house then fair enough.

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  11. laworder (265 comments) says:

    RightNow wrote

    They already have a rotten start in life, perhaps the best thing for them is to be taken off the parents and placed in foster homes.

    Hear hear! If the parents are trashing the property and abusing their neighbours I very much doubt they are treating their offspring any better. What you suggest is a good way to break the cycle – we need this kind of early intervention, its a better solution than prison in the long run. I am all in favour of early intervention, as long as it puts the rights of the children way ahead of those of the criminal parents

    Regards
    Peter J
    Webmaster for http://www.sensiblesentencing.org.nz

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  12. Other_Andy (2,079 comments) says:

    @Rightnow

    “Locking misbehaving tenants out of state houses could condemn their children to a “rotten start in life”, Labour leader Phil Goff says.”

    Or in other words, “Give me the money and/or the house or the kid gets it!”
    Blackmail has worked so far, what has changed?

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  13. Scott Chris (5,675 comments) says:

    Rightnow says:- “They already have a rotten start in life, perhaps the best thing for them is to be taken off the parents and placed in foster homes.”

    I agree. If they behave, they can have them back. This would involve drug and psych testing and as well.

    David Farrar says:- “As for where they will live, well there are thousands of other landlords around. They’ll have to convince a private sector landlord that they will be good tenants. That in turn may gave an incentive to stop the crime.”

    You are making the assumption that they are *reasonable*. The reason that they end up in jail is because they aren’t.

    They’ll just end up as “somebody else’s problem”

    Populist and ineffective policy.

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  14. Other_Andy (2,079 comments) says:

    “They’ll just end up as “somebody else’s problem” ”

    They can live with their whanau/family or ‘mates’.
    Or when they can’t get a place anywhere else, nice people like you can give them board and lodgings.

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  15. laworder (265 comments) says:

    Other_Andy wrote


    Or when they can’t get a place anywhere else, nice people like you can give them board and lodgings.

    Yes, happy to do so, its already available for them, and there’s some space at the moment too, locations all around the country, Mt Eden, Mt Crawford, Rolleston, Spring Hill Rangipo and many others. Corrections is good like that :-)

    Regards
    Peter J
    Webmaster for http://www.sensiblesentencing.org.nz

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  16. Gman88 (12 comments) says:

    The people posting here, and on this blog generally, edge closer and closer to the
    Nazi Party every time I look. Gives the whole thing the smell of a bunch of
    under-grad fascists wanting to lash out at the great tide of socailism sweeping
    the land.

    Well here’s a flash guys, you lock people out of state housing because they commit a crime, and
    they are likely to be locked out of the private rental market as well. So then they
    possibly commit more crime, and then you lock them up, and then they learn the methods
    to commit more crime, and slowly you grow the criminal class who see crime as a future.

    Or they end up begging on the streets.

    I’m not condoning it, its just a fact and a reality across the globe.

    Its better to address the reality rather than some sort of far right utopia where
    everybody leads a perfect life, and the poor are in their place

    A person locked out of state housing because they commited a crime may never commit another one .. or then
    again they might..

    But you sit in your cosy little bedists with your PC, and rant and rave about rights, and about who deserves what,
    and about what should be done, and how its all so much the fault of Labour, and how the “political dynamic”
    works… etc etc etc

    Til one day perhaps one of thse criminals turns up on YOUR front doorstep, with a shotgun.

    And says ” I want what you have, I’m a desperate man”

    And is happy to take “personal responsibility” for that statement.

    And thats when the talking ends.

    And so to avoid this unpleasant fate, you move to a gated community, with guards and dogs to
    protect you from the other ones, the poor ones.

    And you live your life on the PC, locked away safe. Raving about rights and laying blame on
    everyone but yourself.

    You reap what you sow little men

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  17. Scott Chris (5,675 comments) says:

    Other_Andy says:- “They can live with their whanau/family or ‘mates’.”

    So say your son goes off the rails, gets hooked on drugs and and you want to disown him, would you still take him in?

    He’ll just end up on the streets or back in his $100k pa hotel having fucked over someone else.

    Like I said. Populist, ill thought out and ineffective policy.

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  18. Scott Chris (5,675 comments) says:

    laworder says:- “Mt Eden, Mt Crawford, Rolleston, Spring Hill Rangipo and many others. Corrections is good like that”

    ~wow, what an enlightened and inexpensive idea~

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  19. Other_Andy (2,079 comments) says:

    @Scott Chris

    “Like I said. Populist, ill thought out and ineffective policy.”

    And your solution is?

    They wreck the place.
    They turn it into a P-lab.
    They intimidate their neighbours.
    No matter what they do, they will get another state house.

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  20. Other_Andy (2,079 comments) says:

    @Gman88

    Well done, you’ve godwinned the thread.

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  21. RightNow (6,336 comments) says:

    Gman88, in your rant against the unfair state of the world, you conveniently avoid suggesting any effective solutions to the dilemmas you invent. The cycle of abuse and poverty could be broken in one generation, but bleeding hearts rail against it because it would be unfair to the existing generation of poor abused crims.
    But why should they have any more rights than the guy who opens his door to find the shotgun wielder come to invade his home? That guy that opens his door could be a minimum wage cleaner holding down two jobs to feed his family, who gets blasted with both barrels and leaves behind a wife and 4 kids. And when it comes down to it, his death is the result of the bleeding hearts who molly coddle violent offenders because they like to pretend they’r ‘victims’. They’re only ‘victims’ of their own parents, and they’ll breed more ‘victims’ who’ll become violent offenders.

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  22. tristanb (1,133 comments) says:

    Gman88. There’s billions of people around the world who are poorer than a NZ state house tenant. And they’re mostly not criminals. It’s disgusting to see what you think of humanity.

    People aren’t criminals because they are poor, people are criminals because they had shit parents and because there is no deterrent to crime.

    We can’t just keep paying criminals so they don’t commit crimes, because they end up expecting more and more and more.

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  23. Other_Andy (2,079 comments) says:

    “Since 2006, 26 state houses had become meth labs, costing more than $500,000 in testing, decontamination, repair and in some cases demolishing and rebuilding houses.”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/property/news/article.cfm?c_id=8&objectid=10760230

    “State-house tenants are abandoning their houses in a filthy and damaged state, leaving rent unpaid and possessions behind which the Government has to pay to have dumped.”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/residential-property/news/article.cfm?c_id=76&objectid=10471648

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  24. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,664 comments) says:

    Ross Miller 10:52

    No, no, no!

    “He came, he saw, he was stonkered.

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  25. tas (527 comments) says:

    Where will the criminals go? Everyone seems to either use that question to argue that we should be soft on crime or dismiss that with an “I don’t care”.

    I don’t think the state should put up with tenants that damage our property and intimidate their neighbours. And I don’t have much sympathy for criminals. But I do care where they go, because they will keep causing trouble somewhere else.

    The govt needs to get tough on criminals in state housing without just pushing the problem onto someone else.

    They’ll have to convince a private sector landlord that they will be good tenants.

    Based on that statement I doubt DPF is a landlord. It is very hard for landlords to identify bad tenants before they move in and equally hard to evict them–privacy laws and the tenancy tribunal make sure of that. If the govt kicks the crims out, private sector landlords will have to put up with more s***.

    Does anyone have any constructive suggestions for what to do with bad tenants? laworder’s suggestion of putting them in prison is the only one given so far, but it isn’t very practical.

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  26. reid (15,505 comments) says:

    Does anyone have any constructive suggestions for what to do with bad tenants? laworder’s suggestion of putting them in prison is the only one given so far, but it isn’t very practical.

    You want practical? Ship every single one of them to an Occupy-like camp we setup down South on one of the big sheep stations DoC owns. Make all of them live next door to each other, in tents. After six months of that, we give them the opportunity to join the waiting list for a state house, if they don’t want to live there anymore. It might take a few more years before they actually get one but hey, they shouldn’t have been utter arseholes in the first place, should they. So it’s their fault. As a matter of fact, I strongly recommend that should be the sign over the front gate to the encampment: “It’s your own fault you’re here”

    Is that practical, or what?

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  27. scrubone (2,971 comments) says:

    I was going to say this is a stupid policy, but then I realised that it’s not talking about criminals just out of prison, but people who terrorise their neighbours and destroy their rented house.

    That is a problem that is long overdue for resolution. I know of people who basically systematically destroy every state house they ever lived in. The cost to the taxpayer is massive, yet I’ve never heard of anyone querying exactly how much such people cost the state.

    There comes a point where biting the hand that feeds has to stop. There must be consequences.

    But I don’t like the “turff ‘em out” attitude. I think something more along the lines of a concrete walled housing unit with spartan, sold furnishings that can be waterblasted out if need be. In other words, somewhere to stay and prove that you’re responsible enough to be allowed back into proper housing, but just a step above being turfed out on the street. They would need good management though and a carefully thought out design.

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  28. Rightandleft (574 comments) says:

    I am left-wing on a number of issues, including belief in a generous social-safety net provided by taxing the wealthy. However I also believe that those who live on our tax dollars cannot expect to get that help no matter what they do. When tennants commit crimes they forfeit many of their rights, and I think it perfectly acceptable that include their right to state housing. When there are no consequences for abusing such priveledges some people will do exactly that, creating a nightmare for their neighbours etc. The one-year loss of housing threat could well act as a deterrant and cut the crime rate.

    As for the potential harm to the innocent children of the criminals that some have cited as a reason this would be unfair, I’d have to question how safe an environment the children are living in already being raised by criminals in a state house. If they see that there is no consequence for bad behaviour they’ll grow up to abuse the system in exactly the same way. If we don’t address this problem all we’re doing is going down the path of other nations where housing estates are just dens of criminals used to segregate them from the rest of us. Where I grew up a firetruck/ambulance wouldn’t enter the housing projects until they had a police escort. State housing isn’t meant for that.

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  29. Scott Chris (5,675 comments) says:

    Other_Andy says:- “And your solution is?”

    Well, if the offence is punished by the judicial system, then the offender will face whatever sanction the judge dishes out. Isn’t what they are there to do?

    There is no solution to find. Just leave them where they are if they’re not in jail. They’ve got to live somewhere.

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  30. laworder (265 comments) says:

    Rightand left wrote

    I am left-wing on a number of issues, including belief in a generous social-safety net provided by taxing the wealthy. However I also believe that those who live on our tax dollars cannot expect to get that help no matter what they do. When tennants commit crimes they forfeit many of their rights, and I think it perfectly acceptable that include their right to state housing. When there are no consequences for abusing such priveledges some people will do exactly that, creating a nightmare for their neighbours etc. The one-year loss of housing threat could well act as a deterrant and cut the crime rate.

    As for the potential harm to the innocent children of the criminals that some have cited as a reason this would be unfair, I’d have to question how safe an environment the children are living in already being raised by criminals in a state house. If they see that there is no consequence for bad behaviour they’ll grow up to abuse the system in exactly the same way. If we don’t address this problem all we’re doing is going down the path of other nations where housing estates are just dens of criminals used to segregate them from the rest of us. Where I grew up a firetruck/ambulance wouldn’t enter the housing projects until they had a police escort. State housing isn’t meant for that.

    Very well said, I am for a generous social safety net too, and dont mind paying taxes for it, I object to it being used however by those who have no respect for the rights of innocent people including their neighbours. As for what to do with these tenants, reid and scubone’s suggestions both have merit. First though, take away any children they may have and give them a decent chance with decent people

    Regards
    Peter J
    Webmaster for http://www.sensiblesentencing.org.nz

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  31. rightoverlabour (61 comments) says:

    Criminals? Send them to Australia. Seriously though, people need to take responsibility for what they get from the government. Sure people have basic rights, with these rights come responsibility. If people know there is a line in the sand, they are less likely to step over it. Good policy.

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  32. tas (527 comments) says:

    scrubone

    But I don’t like the “turff ‘em out” attitude. I think something more along the lines of a concrete walled housing unit with spartan, sold furnishings that can be waterblasted out if need be. In other words, somewhere to stay and prove that you’re responsible enough to be allowed back into proper housing, but just a step above being turfed out on the street. They would need good management though and a carefully thought out design.

    I was thinking along similar lines. Perhaps it would suffice to install surveillance to ensure that they aren’t setting up a P lab. Having a few security cameras in and around the house would be a real turn off for criminals–and Goff couldn’t complain that it was hurting kids. Sadly he would probably be complaining about a lack of privacy and dignity instead. But I think it is fair–if you abuse the system, you can either go find your own house or you have to put up with not being trusted.

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  33. Nookin (2,887 comments) says:

    Scott Chris
    Last year the government spent $500,000 repairing statehouses affected by P-labs. The chances are that court ordered restitution might return enough for a few light bulbs. If it was your rental house, would you take them back? You make it sound as though the taxpayer has no choice. Stuff that. It’s the offending statehouse tenant that has the choice. Don’t terrorise the neighbourhood, don’t vandalise the house that people would queue up to occupy or face the consequences. The kids? Do we want kids brought up in a household of crims?

    I don’t expect a sudden death policy. It’s a bit like the job-seeker benefit – the first stage in trying to turn the ship.

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  34. kowtow (6,685 comments) says:

    gman88 with the now fashionable threat from the modern left.

    Be nice to them or they will kill you.

    That’s a really good philosophical starting point for the modern welfare state.

    Reminds me of the supposed Churchillian definition of appeasement. Feeding the crocodile in the hope that it will eat you last.

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  35. Scott Chris (5,675 comments) says:

    Nookin says:- “You make it sound as though the taxpayer has no choice.”

    I’m just looking at the likely consequences of the proposed policy. As far as I can see, it doesn’t fix anything, and it in fact is more likely to make the total impact on society as a whole even worse. What if these people have families? Do the families get kicked out as well? If not, how do we prevent the offenders from “just visiting” their families?

    This policy would only make sense if the government was intent on making offenders homeless.

    I think scrubone and tas’s suggestions make far more sense, but ultimately the cheapest solution is to simply shell out the $500k IMO, and charge the tenants for any criminal acts as per normal.

    If sentencing is perceived to be too lenient, then perhaps the SST should focus on that issue.

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  36. Other_Andy (2,079 comments) says:

    “….the cheapest solution is to simply shell out the $500k IMO, and charge the tenants for any criminal acts as per normal.”

    Hold on Chris, the $500.000 is just to clean up after tenants that use their state house to cook P.
    The total bill for damage to state houses is in the tens of millions!

    In 2006 the bill was 21 million
    http://tvnz.co.nz/content/801203/4202557.xhtml
    http://www.rotoruadailypost.co.nz/news/look-at-the-484k-state-of-this-mess/964856/

    I can’t find any more recent numbers.

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  37. reid (15,505 comments) says:

    Just because the answer’s not obvious doesn’t mean there isn’t one.

    There has to be a solution.

    The classic approach in the business world is to apply a structured approach toward resolving it. Effectively this means identifying where they all are now and collating all their histories and analysing it for common patterns and threads including how it operates inter-generationally. The software police and intelligence agencies use would be perfect for this initial analysis.

    Then you’d work with the people who know these people best and factor in their feedback and finally you’d go and find what the horsey’s mouth said about it.

    Then you work the data till the solutions fall out of it. It’s in there, somewhere.

    That’s the least this policy should be doing, as it plays out in the Housing Corp, during the next Parliament.

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  38. tristanb (1,133 comments) says:

    Rightandleft says:

    I am left-wing on a number of issues

    So is National, so I hope you’re voting for them!

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  39. Steve (4,314 comments) says:

    Law breaking tenants can live in tents. Stick the bastards on an enclosed reservation up on the Central Plateau.
    If scum can live in tents to protest, they can live in tents for good. Prob need a big WINZ tent up on the Central Plateau

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  40. reid (15,505 comments) says:

    Stick the bastards on an enclosed reservation up on the Central Plateau.

    That’s what I first thought as well Steve but then I remembered all sorts of artillery, vehicle maneuvering, SAS troop-roaming throat-slitting etc all happens up there so why put those tenants in the way of all of that, is why I looked at the DoC land down South on the big sheep stations in my 1:33.

    Of course if that was your intention one quite understands and admittedly it does have its attractions, doesn’t it.

    Plus we’ve got all that high-voltage surging through up there, as well. It would probably be a good idea to locate Shangri-La (my proposed name for the camp) close to those. I understand it helps them get up in the morning, so I’m told.

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  41. Scott Chris (5,675 comments) says:

    Other_Andy says:- “In 2006 the bill was 21 million”

    Yes, of which 8 kk was recovered leaving a bill of 13kk. (Probably double what the actual damage was worth…Builders just *love* council jobs)

    Much easier to simply get abolish housing NZ, sell off the houses and just offer a larger accommodation allowance to the poor. Get rid of a huge swathe of bureaucrats in one fell swoop and raise $12.5 billion into the bargain.

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  42. SPC (4,609 comments) says:

    Nice one on the insulation of state housing – but when will private rental landlords be required to upgrade their properties?

    The problem will locking out people who commit crimes is the impact on families – so it would be wise to say that they could be locked out – a deterrent without having to follow through in all cases.

    Potential unintendend consequences include families breaking up and being supported on the DPB in the state house (as would happen if a partner went to prison) while the convicted person moved into some hostel.

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  43. burt (7,085 comments) says:

    So the other qestion; Is NZ’s next housing boom going to be trailer parks ?

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  44. Rightandleft (574 comments) says:

    @SPC

    The problem with threatening to lock them out and then not following through is that would eliminate any deterrant effect. Research shows the deterrant effect in crime only happens when the punishment is a certainty. For example, the death penalty has been shown to have no real deterrant effect in the US because it is carried out so seldom and only years after the sentencing. In countries/times where the death penalty was used consistently and quickly there were corresponding drops in premeditated murder. I only use that as an example because that is the area where much research has been done.

    Now on the basis of more anecdotal evidence I can tell you that as a teacher any punishment threatened but not carried out consistently immediately loses any effect. And as soon as the kids realise you’re bluffing on one punishment they push the boundaries in general to see what else they can get away with. We’re told the worst thing we could do in the classroom is make threats of punishment we know we can’t actually carry out. Throwing criminals out of state housing for a year will only reduce crime if the govt actually follows through with consistency.

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  45. SPC (4,609 comments) says:

    The problem of carrying out the stated penalty as to impact on families still stands – if commiting a crime and being convicted of it is not deterrent enough, will being removed from their house change behaviour? Especially when the said party moves into a hostel for a year and the family stays where they are supported by the DPB.

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  46. berend (1,599 comments) says:

    DPF: Key said National would insulate all state houses built before 1987 by the end of 2013.

    Great. I got a quote for my house: $5000 (including subsidies). Can’t afford it. But I will have to pay for another promise of John Key to borrow and spend more.

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  47. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    Berend, remember he is John Keynesian thru and thru. That’s what the man is. Voters love politicians who subscribe to the suicidal economic Keynesian thoughts.

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  48. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    Actually he is a re-incarnation of John Maynard Keynes.

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  49. KiwiGreg (3,129 comments) says:

    Yup Labour-light – god forbid we have a debate that says the state doesn’t supply food and clothing and shouldnt be supplying shelter.

    Or Nats having a more aspirational policy – a country so well off that no one need depend on the state for their housing?

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