A good example of why tenancies should be reviewed

May 9th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

He has been living in a state house most of his life and, at 70, Gilbert Vangellekom is not too happy about his tenancy possibly being up for review.

Vangellekom has lived in his Elsdon three-bedroom home for 36 years – he brought up three children on his own and, when he met his second wife, Vida, helped raised two more. All up, they have 10 children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who still return home when the going gets rough.

“This is what we call home base . . . This is where all the photographs were taken, this is where the good times took place, this is where everyone comes home to when they’re having a bad situation – this is what the politicians don’t realise.”

It is just the two of them now, which is why Vangellekom is concerned that they will be up for a reassessment and told the house is bigger than they need.

The reality is that they should have been shifted into a smaller house once their kids had left home. I have sympathy for the argument that at age 70, he shouldn’t be moved. But the solution is that he should have been moved much earlier.

Porirua City councillor Litea Ah Hoi said that, although the state-house waiting lists had dropped dramatically in the region, there were still families who would benefit from bigger homes such as Vangellekom’s. “I know lots of families with more than three children who would dearly love to move into a home big enough to host them all.”

She supported moving on people who no longer needed bigger houses to make way for families of greater need.

That is the cost of not moving him. A struggling family with lots of kids is missing out.

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56 Responses to “A good example of why tenancies should be reviewed”

  1. Craig (22 comments) says:

    What a sense of entitlement, from someone who has stuffed up his life so badly that he needs the state to provide him a house for 36 years.
    Now he thinks it’s better for him to have some spare rooms “just in case” while large families in need are on the waiting list.

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  2. Zebulon (124 comments) says:

    There should also be a harder attitude towards the behaviour of tenants. Too many state house tenants treat their houses appallingly, harass neighbours, have drunken drugged, parties that last for days and generally give the finger to society and those who pay their bills. Housing Corp do nothing. State houses should be for those who need them but only if they are prepared to act like human beings.

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  3. burt (8,309 comments) says:

    DPF

    That is the cost of not moving him. A struggling family with lots of kids is missing out.

    This is the key issue, just tell the guy that some other family with a greater requirement is missing out and being a strong believer in socialism the guy will happily move because somebody has a greater need than himself.

    See this is how it works for socialists right – they believe in the greater good and that it’s valid to take from people who have more than they need and give to people who are struggling.

    Any “true” socialist would agree that he needs to move.

    Is there any true socialists out there or just greedy people who think they are entitled to other peoples money ?

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  4. griffith (1,111 comments) says:

    I have done a few clean up contracts for housing New Zealand
    Fuck
    Five six wheeler truck loads of rubbish consisting mostly of takeaway boxes, fizzy drink bottles and used nappys.
    Kak gag gag plus obligatory rats maggots and cockroaches.
    from one property alone. Filthy pigs don’t deserve our help.

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  5. thePeoplesFlag (256 comments) says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  6. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    I was privy to a discussion between a cleaning contractor and Eastern type over the disgusting state of their State accommodation. In broken English this arsehole informed the contractor to do his job, that is what he is paid for. Well there is a sequel, the same guy arrived at one of our rentals looking for accommodation some months later, and I can tell you now he didn’t even get through the gate, then he started threatening discrimination and where he was going . . . don’t know where he and his tribe are now, but the do-gooders are on his case. Taxpayers should not be providing accommodation for anyone, and that also goes for ratepayers. There are enough beneficiaries’ top ups for accommodation, and private operators would police these abusers as they should. State operated enterprises are a joke.

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  7. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    …some other family with a greater requirement is missing out and being a strong believer in socialism the guy will happily move because somebody has a greater need than himself.

    More accurately, “if the guy was a strong believer in socialism he’d happily move because someone has a greater need than himself.” From the looks of the article, he’s not a strong believer in socialism.

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  8. Steve (North Shore) (4,587 comments) says:

    “All up, they have 10 children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who still return home when the going gets rough.”
    Why should the Taxpayer be funding a holiday home/drop in for him? If the going gets tough there are many other Welfare services that can be used.
    The smaller and smaller number of NET Taxpayers have had a gutsful of bludgers. Time for a huge cleanup

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  9. prosper (172 comments) says:

    Since when was a state house for life. Originally it was a hand up for 3 to 5 years. That was a policy introduced by Labour. I assume peoples flag cannot see the consequences of his beliefs and or he pays little or no tax.

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  10. thePeoplesFlag (256 comments) says:

    “… just tell the guy that some other family with a greater requirement is missing out..”

    Or perhaps the government could pledge to build 100,000 cheap state houses, which would not only solve our lost cost housing crisis but house all those people ‘missing out” and drive down house prices for those who wish to purchase their own home?

    “…Since when was a state house for life….”

    I suggest you do something radical, like reading some history.

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  11. Colville (2,298 comments) says:

    Socialists have always been great believers in sacrifice, as long as it is someone else making the sacrifice.

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  12. anonymouse (721 comments) says:

    Litea Ah hoi is a hard core Labour activist,

    for her to come out and support something like this is pretty damning for Fraser House…

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  13. georgedarroch (317 comments) says:

    The needs of the many outweigh the few.

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  14. I Say Look Here (57 comments) says:

    “State housing was meant to be for life”

    Says who? You’re the first person I’ve ever heard try to make that claim.

    Many people leave their long-established family homes to move to smaller, more appropriate, accommodation at the age of 70, or beyond. So I can’t see any reason why Mr. Vangellekom should feel entitled to consider himself an exception.

    Especially when, as has been pointed out, there are many people who have a greater claim to that publicly-owned house. Just as he no doubt felt he did 36 years ago.

    By the way, isn’t it nice to know state house waiting lists have dropped dramatically in Porirua?

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  15. RRM (10,007 comments) says:

    This is what we call home base . . . This is where all the photographs were taken, this is where the good times took place, this is where everyone comes home to when they’re having a bad situation – this is what the politicians don’t realise.”

    Too fucking bad.

    My daughter was born in the house we now own, but my son was born in the last flat we rented – a place which I shall forever remember as the place with a c*nt landlord who shafted us when we moved out.

    The moral of this story is that no-one owes you a nice place for your memories.

    Regardless of whether you are a state tenant or someone who pays his own way in the world.

    Take lots of photos of the things that matter, and keep those safe.

    If a stable “home base” is important to you, then get your shit together and buy a place.

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  16. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    I don’t think the article ever claims he believes in socialism.

    People are just jumping to that assumption on the basis that he rents a house from the state.

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  17. Steve (North Shore) (4,587 comments) says:

    Peoples Flag,
    Are you a NET taxpayer? (ie private sector employed)
    Do you own your own house?
    Do you own other property?
    Do you have savings and investments other than Kiwisaver?
    Do you have a car?
    Do you have a boat?
    Do you make donations to welfare services? (Cancer, Mental Health, Blind, Deaf etc)

    I do, because I have worked dam hard for this.
    You however are a moaning, greedy socialist – vote Labour, your type always do

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  18. dime (10,100 comments) says:

    “Or perhaps the government could pledge to build 100,000 cheap state houses, which would not only solve our lost cost housing crisis but house all those people ‘missing out” and drive down house prices for those who wish to purchase their own home?”

    just fuck off to north korea already

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  19. burt (8,309 comments) says:

    Alan

    I don’t think the article ever claims he believes in socialism.

    People are just jumping to that assumption on the basis that he rents a house from the state.

    Better tell that to thePeoplesFlag – he seems to think this guy is in some grand social contract with the state… Which if he is he would see why he needs to move to make way for a family who needs a large house all the time – not just when family visit.

    If he’s not in some grand social contract – then he should just shut up and move !

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  20. lastmanstanding (1,300 comments) says:

    Steve Peoples Flag will be one of the many who demand we tax payers and rate payers pay for their life style no matter what. Funny thing is if the boot was on the other foot they would tell us to FOXTROT OSCAR is the biggest way.

    Socialists and the LEFT are two faced hypocritical arseholes. ALL OF THEM.

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  21. RRM (10,007 comments) says:

    “Or perhaps the government could pledge to build 100,000 cheap state houses, which would not only solve our lost cost housing crisis but house all those people ‘missing out” and drive down house prices for those who wish to purchase their own home?”

    Yeah but why should we?

    Do we owe these people something?

    Will the money required to do this simply grow on trees? Or will an additional dip into the inexhaustible ‘rich prick’ well be required?

    100,000 3 to 4 brm houses at say $400,000 (incl land) each = $40,000,000,000

    That’s 40 billion dollars.

    That’s a mere $10,000 cost to each man, woman, child and baby in New Zealand!

    ;-) You’re welcome!

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  22. burt (8,309 comments) says:

    RRM

    That’s about 20 minutes on a modern cash printing machine – solved !

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  23. prosper (172 comments) says:

    The flag. I suggest you read the original policy instead of some inaccurate and or revisionist history books. By the way the people’s flag is the people’s democratic republic of China or was it the old people’s democratic republic of Germany. That was great success wasn’t it where everybody had a statehouse.

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  24. RRM (10,007 comments) says:

    But – yeah I forgot those new cash printing machines are pretty quick!

    It’ll work fine then, my bad.

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  25. Than (488 comments) says:

    they can change the rules of a social contract forty years after it was entered into. State housing was meant to be for life, to remove from people the tyranny of the slumlords of the depression years

    thePeoplesFlag, re-read your own words. You are demanding that a policy created forty years ago, for a completely different time and set of circumstances, must be maintained forever no matter what. That is simply stupid. Times change, social problems change, and social assistance should change with it.

    Today the biggest problem social housing should address is not excessive rents, it is that category of tenants who no landlord will rent to. People with a history of overdue/unpaid rent, damage to property, and complaints from neighbours. These people still need somewhere to live, and this is the need that social housing should be filling.

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  26. RRM (10,007 comments) says:

    And for fuck’s sake, No there was NEVER a “SOCIAL CONTRACT” that said “YOUR state house is YOURS FOR LIFE”

    My mother’s parents lived in a state house briefly in the 1950s. They looked after it, and when they left it, it had a nice garden that they’d built up.

    Needless to say, after they and their generation left, losers like the people’s flag moved in, and wallowed in their own filth there for as long as they possibly could.

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  27. Steve (North Shore) (4,587 comments) says:

    Poeples Flag wants the unfortunate cared for using other peoples money – and mine.
    You know what he can do? what Dime said.

    Btw, I asked you 7 questions Peoples Flag, where are you?

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  28. dime (10,100 comments) says:

    RRM – your journey to the darkside is now complete.

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  29. wreck1080 (3,956 comments) says:

    I guess housing nz staff are too busy playing facebook/trademe rather than sorting this out.

    I had assumed that when ones situation changed the right to a particular house would be reviewed.

    Really, people should be allocated 1 bedroom apartments once the kids leave. They are lucky they get anything at all.

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  30. tvb (4,501 comments) says:

    Long term state tenants should be offered to purchase the house. It is too late for this person. But being a tenant is not long term it never is even with private sector landlords. More active management of this tenancy could have avoided this. He can be offered a cheaper smaller house in a similar area or continue but paying a higher rental.

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  31. OneTrack (3,218 comments) says:

    burt – ” That’s about 20 minutes on a modern cash printing machine – solved !”

    You must mean the Green model.

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  32. mandk (1,015 comments) says:

    @thePeoplesFlag,
    What you are arguing essentially is that one wrong-doing is excused because another is happening.

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  33. gump (1,661 comments) says:

    Some of the comments seem a bit mean.

    I know there are some dodgy state house tenants, but there’s no indication that Mr Vangellekom is one of those. For all we know he might be one of the better ones that look after the property and treat it with respect.

    I personally believe that he should make way for a family with greater need, but I don’t see why people should trash his character with no evidence of wrongdoing.

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  34. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    tvb says:

    Long term state tenants should be offered to purchase the house.

    That was the original policy… you got helped into an affordable rental and then, as your circumstances improved, you bought it. People could get their Family Benefit (the ~$6 a week everyone with a child got) advanced in a lump sum to help with the deposit.

    People could stay in their big houses when they were old, if that’s what they wanted, because they owned them. And they weren’t making families homeless because the state had used their purchase money to build another house.

    So can someone enlighten me… are tenants no longer encouraged to buy the state house in which they live? That still happens here in WA and works well for all concerned (albeit that the mining boom means there’s still a major housing shortage, but that’s an artificial distortion which no state housing program could hope to fix).

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  35. Mobile Michael (463 comments) says:

    If someone gets a welfare benefit we stop subsidising them when their situation improves, why should we do the same with social housing?

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  36. Paulus (2,659 comments) says:

    gump

    I agree with you. It is not the tenants fault that he has lives there for so long.
    It is the fault of Housing Corp for not moving him on, at an appropriate time.
    Pity it has taken this Government to review such as this, and people will now learn that we the taxpayers and those in more need have rights too.

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  37. wf (464 comments) says:

    Back in 1960 (OMG!! THAT long ago?) we couldn’t get into a state house because my husband was over the income limit by about 50 pounds (income was as I remember just over 1400)

    Being a public servant, or suffering from some chronic disease was an advantage to being considered. The next best thing was to get a loan from the PSA at 3%, or 6% if you were over the income limit which was about 1500 pounds. You had to have 30% deposit to buy a house.

    We had friends with one child who lived in a tiny 2br state unit out at Naenae and they had property inspections on a regular basis – for maintenance as well as their continued suitability to occupy. They lived in it until they died as she had had tb and was never in good health.

    Things weren’t any easier for young people back then, and for some a state house was a gift from heaven. But if you were at the bottom of the pay scale or chronically ill they were a great leg up, but it was expected that when you reached a certain pay scale, you moved out into the open market.

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  38. 2boyz (263 comments) says:

    RRM @ 11.57am, I think you have come up short on the housing bill, it would be $40 Billion plus all the necessary 50 inch plasma TV, gaming equipment etc to go in these lovely new houses. Best to expand that bill by another $2 billion :)

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  39. Komata (1,197 comments) says:

    Rex

    Re: ‘…Are tenants no longer encouraged to buy the state house in which they live?’

    FWIW: A very quick search has found a bit of information which may be useful…

    ‘In 1950 the National government introduced legislation that allowed state tenants to buy their homes. This measure was based on its conviction that private home ownership provided greater personal freedom than renting. In wanting state tenants to experience the benefits of owning their own home, the government offered purchasers very generous terms: 5 percent deposit, a 3 percent mortgage rate, with a maximum purchase period of 40 years.

    Since the 1950s the construction and sale of state houses has fluctuated considerably depending on which of the major political parties has been in power. In general, National governments have encouraged tenants to purchase state houses, while Labour governments have discouraged or prohibited sales in order to conserve state-housing stocks. These trends were especially marked in the 1990s, when the sale of state houses soared under National until a new Labour-led government placed a moratorium on further sales in 1999′.(1)

    AFIK, that still remains the case, and tenants currently cannot purchase their state properties.

    Hope this helps.

    _________________________________

    (1) [n.a.], ‘The state steps in and out’, [online], New Zealand History online, http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/culture/we-call-it-home/the-state-steps-in-and-out [accessed 9 May 2014]

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  40. Peter (1,723 comments) says:

    To each according to his need, isn’t it? The family needs it more. He needs it less.

    Move on, gramps. You’ve been sucking the taxpayer lolly for far too long and appear most ungrateful.

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  41. 2boyz (263 comments) says:

    Speaking of state houses, all tenants should be contractually bound to mow the f**ken lawns!

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  42. burt (8,309 comments) says:

    And this same guy will probably vote for tax increases to punish the rich pricks – because they have more than they need while others are struggling… will he for one moment consider that he has empty rooms 99% of the time ?

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  43. rangitoto (248 comments) says:

    After the second world war, many returned servicemen were provided state houses and were later offered the option of buying them using very reasonable State Advances loans. When going down a Street sometime later, it wasn’t hard to tell which houses had been purchased by their occupants.

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  44. Left Right and Centre (2,994 comments) says:

    Gilbert is my kind of bloke – a total bloodsucking fuckwit like me.

    His mentality is unbelievable to others. Housing NZ should just send a family round to his place – Mum and two kids for eg. We’re moving into the spare space – hahahaha

    But it’s up to the Govt to get him out. Who cares what Gilbert thinks ? People are hell. We know that.

    Tangent: How many bedrooms are there in New Zealand ? (I’ve got two spare ones myself – just like my mate Gilbert. I keep my insect and rodent pets in them – uninhabitable).

    griff – you’re too much brother

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  45. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    Komata:

    Thank you for that. I’d have done my own research, but I’m stuck using a phone…

    So it would seem National could deflect this sort if criticism by allowing, even encouraging, state house tenants to buy their homes. So why don’t they? Provided the returns went back into new state housing, who could reasonably object?

    And Labour, on the other hand, can’t grandstand on cases such as this because were it not for their determination to keep tenants under the control of HCNZ, this gentleman might by now be a property owner, with no risk of being moved on.

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  46. Komata (1,197 comments) says:

    Rex

    Glad it was of use. In respect of why National doesn’t go more into the ‘sales’ aspect, the following may be of interest. It’s from the same series of articles I used before:.

    ‘The National government introduced full market rents in 1991 to reduce the state role in housing provision. From the start, public debate over state housing policy in New Zealand has centred on this very issue: how far should governments intervene in the housing market. Generally speaking, Liberal and Labour administrations have argued that private enterprise does not deliver a good standard of housing to working people and that the state should intervene and house those whom the market cannot, or will not, accommodate. On the other hand, National and conservative administrations have asserted that government intervention hinders private investment in worker housing and inhibits self-reliance. Accordingly, they have sought to reduce the state’s role in housing provision. Still, since the 1950’s, all governments have accepted that the state should provide homes for the poorest New Zealanders and those who suffer racial and other discrimination in the market’. (1)

    I think it may answer some of your questions ; at least in part. .

    BTW: He is not the only one who finds themselves in such a position; just the one who is currently the most vocal. It is also not a new phenomenon, and has been going-on for years. Housing Corp’ do seem to try to move people into smaller houses, but it always seems to end in their backing-off and waiting. I do wonder however, if the MSM are using this as another example of ‘heartless government’ to ‘get at’ the Nats’ – again. It’s timing is simply tooo convenient.

    Just a thought…

    ___________________

    (1) (1) [n.a.], ‘The state steps in and out’, [online], New Zealand History online, http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/culture/we-call-it-home/the-state-steps-in-and-out [accessed 9 May 2014]

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  47. goldnkiwi (1,516 comments) says:

    At 70 he has years of life left, ffs he was only entitled to the pension 5 years ago, potentially the age should increase, so he is still working age, yet you all make it sound like he should be out to pasture.

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  48. griffith (1,111 comments) says:

    LRC
    One house five loads of crap. All around the garage from the back to the front was roof high of utter festering garbage.
    A days work for two guys and a digger. thank fuck for that digger it meant we didn’t have to handle to much of the garbage.
    It was the worst we did of around a dozen picked up during a slow period. Others were similar in contents….. No milk, no cans or signs of cooking just takeaway cartons , fizzy drink bottles and nappys dumped in around the houses. No bullshit its pretty standard shit for the poor fuckers who clean up state houses I wouldnt do it again for the money asshole of a gig.

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  49. Steve (North Shore) (4,587 comments) says:

    Peoples Flag is a troll. Spray and walk away – just like Trevor Mallard

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  50. Left Right and Centre (2,994 comments) says:

    griff – you’re preaching to the choir cuz – I’m upmarket underclass myself and I’ve met enough of them. For a limited time only I drove rubbish trucks – so did some really awesome tiki tours of your common garden variety shithole areas – hahahaha. There’s more beds outside than inside – hahahahaha. You’d find used nappies in recycling bins – I feel your pain – hahahahaha FERALS !!!!!!

    I’ve got some really valuable household items I’d like to get rid of myself.

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  51. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    It beats me why we have state houses – I’d prefer to see the government own land and lease it to people, who then built their own houses, and paid a lease for the use of the land.

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  52. Komata (1,197 comments) says:

    Judith

    What you are describing sounds good, at least in theory, but the whole ‘long term lease’ idea is problematical. Landlords come, landlords go, but the government stays, and there is really nothing to stop it either unilaterally rising rents / leases when it sees fit, or, at the time of renegotiation, increasing them to such an extent that people have to sell (usually at a loss) or walk away, with the government becoming the owners by default. The good citizens of Meadowbank and St. Johns in Auckland who have suffered such occurrences (albeit under a different organisation) would doubtless be able to express their views about such things better than I can…

    And if you knew that the Government owned the land your house was on, and could do all of what I have just described (and probably more, as Governments do), would you REALLY put your heart and soul into making it your own ‘bit of paradise’ or…?

    As I said, in theory, great, in reality, probably not; too many variables and unknowns. Far better to own it outright if at all possible.

    BTW: Wouldn’t what you suggest be just another form of ‘State’ housing anyway, albeit a little bit more upmarket?

    Just wondering…..

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  53. Komata (1,197 comments) says:

    Judith

    (Sorry, forgot to add this) Concerning your question: ‘Why do we have State Houses anyway’ When the State House concept came to New Zealand (early 20th century, BTW) the essentially Christian ethic that was the basis for the country’s actions at the time, held that the poor should be looked after. If it involved housing them, then so be it. That was the original basis for the housing of ‘The Poor’. If they couldn’t afford to house themselves, then the Government had no choice but to ‘look after them’ and come to their aid. . Political ideology or expediency weren’t the original basis for the concept, , basic Christian ‘humanitarian’ principles were.

    Unfortunately, with time, things altered and the ‘state house’ concept became increasingly ‘politicised’ as it was a good vote catcher – especially in the Great Depression, where it was a platform that gave Labour their landslide victory.

    Hope this helps…

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  54. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ Komata (1,001 comments) says:
    May 9th, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    Good points, and certainly some I hadn’t thought of, although surely they could do something like a 99 year lease or ???

    Regarding it being similar to state housing, I think it would remove the problem as referred to above.
    Housing NZ seems to be called on to act like social workers and all sorts of other roles. They are charged with sorting out personal issues, which if it was only the land concerned, they wouldn’t have the responsibilities they do now.

    I just think the whole state house thing is out-dated, and whilst suiting to the 50’s has passed its appropriateness.

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  55. Komata (1,197 comments) says:

    Judith

    Thanks, glad it helped.

    Re: ‘I just think the whole state house thing is out-dated, and whilst suiting to the 50′s has passed its appropriateness’.

    And, as the poor are always with us, you would replace it with….?

    (Serious question BTW).

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  56. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ Komata (1,003 comments) says:
    May 9th, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    I believe that state housing works alongside the welfare system and both have morphed into a situation where no longer are they short term measures to help those that for a variety of reasons have been exposed to hardship.

    Instead of being a temporary measure to assist a few – they have become a way of life, for sometimes generations.

    Many now regard it as a right – to be provided with accommodation, and to be paid welfare – there are generations of some families that have never not been dependent on the government for their income and accommodation.

    I am still in favour of a welfare system but not one that encourages hopelessness and dependence.

    Whilst there is a need to have some form of emergency housing available – that is exactly what it should be – only a temporary measure, until a permanent solution can be found. Available in times of crisis, but not allowed, or considered to be a permanent solution.

    Just like the benefit, state house residents should be able to demonstrate they are looking for permanent rentals elsewhere – it maybe that WINZ has to front up with bonds etc, (which they do now anyway).

    *and I still think my suggestion of govt lease land could be made to work as well.

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