Enter the Christchurch deputy mayor, Vicki Buck, who thinks it’s the city council’s role to fire hose the issue with your money, by underwriting their rental payments on more than 40 private properties.
Enter Cr Ali Jones, who had the audacity to say no. No, to the never-ending binge. No, to the misappropriation of the city’s coffers as a branch office of social welfare.
No, to Vicki Buck’s insatiable appetite to dream up new feel-good, big-spending schemes, that stray further from the council’s knitting and inflate the rates explosion.
As Cr Jones points out, only eight weeks ago, the council benevolently shelled out $300,000 to the City Mission for their new Homelessness Accommodation Project.
But now Cr Buck wants to throw another $400,000 at the problem, even though Cr Jamie Gough has confirmed to me the council housing unit (which is supposed to be revenue neutral) “can’t clean its own face”, clocking up a monthly loss of $660,000.
Fundamentally, the council’s penchant for trying to usurp the core functions of the Ministry of Social Development is galloping out of control.
Housing is not a core role for Councils. Central Government does have a role there, but local government should focus on doing infrastructure well, rather than trying to be a social welfare provider.
Christchurch is blessed with an abundance of community housing providers. As just one example, Comcare and VisionWest have just been contracted by the government to provide more placements for transient residents.
Meanwhile, the inspirational Sue Bagshaw is developing transitional housing for homeless youth. 16 and 17 year olds are currently paid $175 a week by Work & Income, plus a $65 accommodation supplement.
If they pooled their money wisely, and behaved lawfully, securing a rental wouldn’t be problematic.
But unreformed glue sniffers, pot and meth heads, unwilling to deal to their demons, is a hell of a proposition for private landlords.
I’ve held the hands of several friends as they confronted drug addiction. I know how tortuous the journey can be. But it’s the extended whanau who need to be fronting up, taking account and reclaiming their “lost” children from the street.
The hate-filled, rancid, vitriol piled on a councillor who courageously said no to yet another hand-out, is contemptible.
It is always interesting to observe how much hatred some people have when a politician has different views to them. It isn’t healthy.